Placental Listeriosis: Case Report and Literature Review

Marquerit Van der Merwe Anatomical Pathology, National Health Laboratory Service, Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital, School of Pathology, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa

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Sugeshnee Pather Anatomical Pathology, National Health Laboratory Service, Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital, School of Pathology, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa

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ABSTRACT.

Listeria monocytogenes, a foodborne, facultative, intracellular gram-positive bacillus, is one of 17 species of the Listeria genus and was responsible for the world’s largest outbreak of listeriosis in 2017–2018 in South Africa. Listeria monocytogenes tends to cause mild gastrointestinal symptoms in healthy individuals. However, pregnancy-associated listeriosis can be fatal to the fetus and can lead to serious adverse effects in the neonate. Listeria monocytogenes has an affinity for the placenta, as opposed to other nonreproductive organs. Herein, we present a case of placental listeriosis diagnosed in a 33-year-old female, parity 4, with unknown gestational age during the listeriosis outbreak in South Africa in 2017–2018. The patient presented with pregnancy-related complications and underwent a caesarean section. Morphological features demonstrated acute suppurative villitis and intervillositis with a heavy load of gram-positive bacilli, which is highly suggestive of placental listeriosis. Multiplex polymerase chain reaction confirmed the presence of L. monocytogenes.

Author Notes

Address correspondence to Marquerit van der Merwe, Anatomical Pathology, National Health Laboratory Service, Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital, School of Pathology, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Fourth Floor NHLS Building, Chris Hani Rd., Johannesburg 2131, South Africa. E-mail: marquerit.vdermerwe@nhls.ac.za

Disclosure: Ethics approval was received from the University of the Witwatersrand Human Research Ethics Committee, and the clearance certificate number is M221099.

Authors’ addresses: Marquerit van der Merwe and Sugeshnee Pather, Anatomical Pathology, National Health Laboratory Service, Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital, School of Pathology, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa, E-mails: marquerit.vdermerwe@nhls.ac.za and sugeshnee.pather@nhls.ac.za.

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