Listeriosis in pregnancy: An umbrella review of maternal exposure, treatment and neonatal complications

Ijlas El Founti Khsim, Ahalini Mohanaraj-Anton, Ivar Benjamin Horte, Ronald Francis Lamont, Khalid Saeed Khan, Jan Stener Jørgensen, Carmen Amezcua-Prieto
BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology 2022, 129 (9): 1427-1433

BACKGROUND: Listeria monocytogenes is a commonly found organism in processed and prepared food and the disease of listeriosis is associated with a high morbidity and mortality. Compared with the general population, the risk of being diagnosed with listeriosis increases during pregnancy. Listeriosis can lead to miscarriage, spontaneous preterm labour and preterm birth, stillbirth and congenital neonatal infections.

OBJECTIVES: We conducted a universal review of listeriosis in pregnancy and in the newborn.

SEARCH STRATEGY: The EMBASE, PubMed, Cinahl and Web of Science databases were searched for systematic reviews indexed before 1 December 2020.

SELECTION CRITERIA: Any systematic reviews evaluating the prevalence, treatment, diagnosis and effects of listeriosis during pregnancy and up to 4 weeks postnatally were included.

DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS: Eligibility assessment, data extraction and quality assessment by the Methodological Quality Assessment of Systematic Reviews (AMSTAR-2) were performed in duplicate.

MAIN RESULTS: We identified 397 citations of which nine systematic reviews comprising 330 studies and 487 patients' reviews were included. Most systematic reviews (seven of nine) were of moderate to high quality. Prevention in pregnant women was based on adherence to strict dietary recommendations, such as reheating leftovers until steamed and avoiding unpasteurised dairy products. Listeriosis infections were likely to occur in the third trimester (66%) rather than in the first trimester (3%) of pregnancy. Symptoms are mostly fever and other flu-like symptoms, such as fatigue. Diagnosis was primarily made by culture of the pathogen. Intravenous amoxicillin or ampicillin were first-line treatment.

CONCLUSIONS: Listeriosis, a rare but serious infectious disease in pregnancy, can cause devastating consequences for the fetus and newborn. Appropriate preventative treatment should be initiated during early pregnancy to avoid complications.

TWEETABLE ABSTRACT: Listeria is commonly found in processed and prepared food. Prevention is the best way to avoid listeriosis during pregnancy.

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