Dairy Farm Reservoir of Listeria monocytogenes Sporadic and Epidemic Strains

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Abstract:

Identifying the reservoirs of a pathogen is vital for control of sporadic disease and epidemics. Listeria monocytogenes is a zoonotic foodborne pathogen that is responsible for 28% of food-related deaths in the United States annually, as well as a major cause of massive product recalls worldwide. To examine the role of the dairy farm as a potential source or reservoir for L. monocytogenes subtypes shown to cause human listeriosis, we compared the pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) restriction enzyme digestion profiles of L. monocytogenes dairy farm–associated strains (milk, environmental, and bovine) to human sporadic and epidemic disease strains. Twenty-three percent of human sporadic strains had PFGE patterns identical to that of farm isolate(s). Additionally, three farm environmental strains and one human sporadic strain had a PFGE pattern identical to a strain of L. monocytogenes responsible for the 1985 California epidemic. These data indicate that this epidemic strain continues to cause sporadic human illness and has a potential dairy farm as a reservoir.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: U. S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Animal Disease Research Unit, Pullman, Washington 99164-6630 and Department of Veterinary Microbiology and Pathology, Washington State University, Pullman, Washington 99164-7040 2: U. S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Animal Disease Research Unit, Pullman, Washington 99164-6630 3: Field Disease Investigation Unit, Department of Veterinary Clinical Science, Washington State University, Pullman, Washington 99164-6610 4: Department of Veterinary Microbiology and Pathology, Washington State University, Pullman, Washington 99164-7040 5: Department of Veterinary Microbiology and Pathology, Washington State University, Pullman, Washington 99164-7040 and Department of Microbiology, College of Veterinary Medicine and School of Agricultural Biotechnology, Seoul National University, Seoul 151-742, Korea 6: Department of Health, 1610 N. E. 150th Street, Shoreline, Washington 98155, USA

Publication date: November 1, 2004

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