Review Article

A review of Listeria monocytogenes from meat and meat products: Epidemiology, virulence factors, antimicrobial resistance and diagnosis

Itumeleng Matle, Khanyisile R. Mbatha, Evelyn Madoroba
Onderstepoort Journal of Veterinary Research | Vol 87, No 1 | a1869 | DOI: | © 2020 Itumeleng Matle, Khanyisile R. Mbatha, Evelyn Madoroba | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 31 March 2020 | Published: 09 October 2020

About the author(s)

Itumeleng Matle, Bacteriology Division, Agricultural Research Council – Onderstepoort Veterinary Research, Onderstepoort, Pretoria, South Africa; and, Department of Agriculture and Animal Health, University of South Africa, Science Campus, Florida, South Africa
Khanyisile R. Mbatha, Department of Agriculture and Animal Health, University of South Africa, Science Campus, Florida, South Africa
Evelyn Madoroba, Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology, University of Zululand, KwaDlangezwa, South Africa


Listeria monocytogenes is a zoonotic food-borne pathogen that is associated with serious public health and economic implications. In animals, L. monocytogenes can be associated with clinical listeriosis, which is characterised by symptoms such as abortion, encephalitis and septicaemia. In human beings, listeriosis symptoms include encephalitis, septicaemia and meningitis. In addition, listeriosis may cause gastroenteric symptoms in human beings and still births or spontaneous abortions in pregnant women. In the last few years, a number of reported outbreaks and sporadic cases associated with consumption of contaminated meat and meat products with L. monocytogenes have increased in developing countries. A variety of virulence factors play a role in the pathogenicity of L. monocytogenes. This zoonotic pathogen can be diagnosed using both classical microbiological techniques and molecular-based methods. There is limited information about L. monocytogenes recovered from meat and meat products in African countries. This review strives to: (1) provide information on prevalence and control measures of L. monocytogenes along the meat value chain, (2) describe the epidemiology of L. monocytogenes (3) provide an overview of different methods for detection and typing of L. monocytogenes for epidemiological, regulatory and trading purposes and (4) discuss the pathogenicity, virulence traits and antimicrobial resistance profiles of L. monocytogenes.


Listeria monocytogenes; meat and meat products; epidemiology; virulence factors; diagnosis; antimicrobial resistance


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