Medical Practice

Epidemic Listeriosis in the Newborn

Br Med J 1971; 3 doi: (Published 25 September 1971) Cite this as: Br Med J 1971;3:747

This article has a correction. Please see:

  1. D. M. O. Becroft,
  2. Keitha Farmer,
  3. R. J. Seddon,
  4. R. Sowden,
  5. J. H. Stewart,
  6. Alison Vines,
  7. D. Ann Wattie


    Within a three-month period 13 cases of listeriosis in the newborn were seen at the National Women's Hospital, Auckland. Eleven presented in the first 24 hours of life, the most common feature being respiratory difficulty in low birth weight infants. Meconium-stained liquor was noted in nine cases. The constant finding in all cases was an aspiration pneumonia which appeared to be of intrauterine origin from an infected amniotic cavity. There was also evidence of septicaemia in nine cases, and two infants survived meningitis which developed at 1 week. Maternal symptoms were mild and variable, and in only one case were they proved to be due to listerial infection. The mothers came from different suburbs of Auckland and no common source of infection was found.

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