OBJECTIVES: Listeria monocytogenes can cause sepsis and meningitis. We report national surveillance data on L. monocytogenes meningitis in the Netherlands, describing incidence changes, genetic epidemiology and fatality rate.
METHODS: We analyzed data from the Netherlands Reference Laboratory of Bacterial Meningitis for cases of L. monocytogenes meningitis. Strains were assessed by serotyping and bacterial population structure by multi-locus sequence typing.
RESULTS: A total of 375 cases of Listeria meningitis were identified between 1985 and 2014. Peak incidence rates were observed in neonates (0.61 per 100,000 live births) and older adults (peak at 87 year; 0.53 cases per 100,000 population of the same age). Neonatal listerial meningitis decreased 17-fold from 1.95 per 100,000 live births between 1985 and 1989, to 0.11 per 100,000 live births between 2010 and 2014. Overall case fatality rate was 31%, in a multivariate analysis older age and concomitant bacteremia were associated with mortality (both p < 0.01). Clonal complexes (CC) CC1, CC2 and CC3 decreased over time from respectively 32% to 12%, 33% to 9% and 10% to 2% (all p < 0.001), while CC6 increased from 2% to 26% (p < 0.001).
CONCLUSIONS: The incidence of neonatal listerial meningitis has declined over the past 25 years. The genotype CC6 has become the predominant genotype in listerial meningitis in the Netherlands. Mortality of listeria meningitis has remained high.