July 19, 2024

Long-Term Outcomes of Neonatal Listeriosis Primarily Due to Prematurity, Study Finds

A recent study conducted by a team of scientists and physicians from the Institut Pasteur, Université Paris Cité, the Paris Public Hospital Network (AP-HP), and Inserm has shed light on the long-term consequences of neonatal listeriosis on the health of surviving infants. Published in The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health, the study found that the development of children infected with the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes was primarily influenced by prematurity rather than the infection itself.

Maternal-fetal listeriosis is a severe disease that can result in miscarriage, premature birth, or serious neonatal infection. Pregnant women are often advised to avoid certain foods, including unpasteurized cheeses, cold meats, and ready-to-eat foods that have not been thoroughly reheated, to minimize the risk of acquiring listeriosis during pregnancy. The consequences of listeriosis can be severe, including septicemia or lung/neurological infection in newborn babies. In France alone, approximately 40 newborns are affected by listeriosis each year.

To understand the long-term effects of neonatal listeriosis, the team of scientists and physicians studied the development of children infected with Listeria monocytogenes up to the age of five. Through the French MONALISA cohort, which enrolls all confirmed cases of listeriosis, the researchers assessed the neurological and neurodevelopmental consequences of the infection in surviving children. The study’s participants included about 50 children born to mothers who had contracted listeriosis at different stages of pregnancy.

At age five, the children underwent a comprehensive health assessment, evaluating cognitive development, motor and visual development, hearing, functional communication, and socialization. The results were compared with those of uninfected children from two large contemporary national cohorts.

The study revealed that two-thirds of infants born with listeriosis had long-term sequelae, such as cognitive dysfunction, motor coordination problems, visual or hearing impairment, primarily attributed to prematurity rather than the infection itself. These findings have important implications on the guidance provided to parents of newborns with listeriosis and emphasize the need for systematic long-term screening to identify possible sequelae early on and offer appropriate treatment and support.

Dr. Caroline Charlier, a scientist involved in the study, emphasizes the significance of these results in providing science-based guidance to parents and informing them about the development of their child’s health. The study also highlights the importance of tailored educational support for children with neonatal listeriosis.

Overall, this study contributes to a better understanding of the long-term outcomes of neonatal listeriosis and allows healthcare professionals to address the potential developmental issues and offer appropriate interventions to improve the health and well-being of affected children.

1. Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research
2. We have leveraged AI tools to mine information and compile it