Canadian cases and outbreaks of illness caused by Listeria monocytogenes between 1995 and 2004 were assessed. Isolates (722 total) were characterized by serotyping, and pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) was performed to provide a means of detecting case clusters. Rates of listeriosis remained fairly consistent during the period of study, and patient characteristics were similar to those seen in studies of other populations. Most isolates were obtained from blood and cerebrospinal fluid, although during some outbreak investigations isolates were also obtained from stools. Serotype 1/2a predominated in isolates from patients in Canada, followed by serotypes 4b and 1/2b. Outbreaks caused by L. monocytogenes that occurred during the period of study were caused by isolates with serotypes 1/2a and 4b. A retrospective analysis of PFGE data uncovered several clusters that might have represented undetected outbreaks, suggesting that comprehensive prospective PFGE analysis coupled with prompt epidemiological investigations might lead to improved outbreak detection and control.
(Accepted August 28 2009)
(Online publication October 12 2009)
c1 Author for correspondence: Dr C. G. Clark, Enteric Disease Program, National Microbiology Laboratory, Public Health Agency of Canada, Canadian Science Centre for Human and Animal Health, 1015 Arlington St, Winnipeg, MB, R3E 3R2, Canada. (Email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
† Members of CPHLN are listed in the Appendix.