Health for humans, animals & plants

Listeriosis: Rare, but dangerous

Listeria are bacteria that can get into foods such as raw milk, meat and fish. They are the cause of listeriosis, a rare but serious disease that can be fatal.

Listeria are bacteria that are widespread in the environment. They are dangerous when they get into food, such as raw milk products, meat and fish products.

As a centre for food-borne infectious diseases, we play a key role in the investigation of outbreaks caused by listeria. We are pioneers in this field throughout Europe: since 2016, we have been routinely determining the genetic fingerprint of all listeria strains received from patients, food and businesses. Our database for listeria - the largest of its kind in Europe - currently contains over 15,000 genetic fingerprints of these bacteria. If there is a food-borne outbreak - i.e. several people fall ill with the same strain of listeria - we can compare whether this strain is also present in a particular food and thus identify the source of infection.

Information on listeria

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