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Background and objectives: Listeria monocytogenes (Lm) is a zoonotic pathogen and the causative agent of listeriosis. Transmission mainly occurs via contaminated foodstuffs leading to severe illness in elderly, pregnant or immunocompromised people. A relatively high mortality rate renders listeriosis a major public health concern. For effective surveillance and disease control, extensive molecular tracing is indispensable. However, the analytical basis can be improved by using the potential of novel techniques. Therefore, pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) and whole genome sequencing (WGS) as typing tools will be compared for various German Lm-field isolates in our project MolTypList5.
Materials and methods: A total of 458 food-isolates from ready-to-eat products (the most frequent origin of infection) and 54 isolates from production environments were selected from 1207 samples sent to the German National Reference Laboratory (NRL) for Lm in 2016 for molecular typing.
Results: The largest percentage of food-isolates originated from Baden-Württemberg (29%). Most frequent matrices were meat and fish products with 41% and 27%, respectively. More than 50% of the isolates belonged to serotype IIa. PFGE and WGS data revealed diverse Lm-strains in Germany and clusters based on epidemiologically linked food-isolates.