Listeria: guidance, data and analysis

The symptoms, diagnosis, management and epidemiology of listeriosis, the infection caused by Listeria monocytogenes bacteria.

Listeria causes listeriosis, a rare but potentially life-threatening disease.

Healthy adults are likely to experience only mild infection, causing flu-like symptoms or gastroenteritis. However, listeriosis is dangerous to pregnant women, the elderly and people with weakened immune systems.

Listeria is typically spread by contaminated foods. Listeria is an unusual bacterium because it can grow at low temperatures, including refrigeration temperatures of below 5°C. It is, however, killed by cooking food thoroughly and by pasteurisation.

Information on listeriosis is also available on NHS.UK and the Food Standards Agency website.

Listeria and high risk groups

Diagnosis and management

Data collection

The gastrointestinal emerging and zoonotic infections (GEZI) team follow up cases of listeriosis to determine sources of outbreaks and to limit the spread of disease.


Incident investigation

Published 6 December 2013
Last updated 27 July 2023 + show all updates
  1. Added 'Listeria and high risk groups' and removed text on Listeria and lambing season.

  2. Added Listeria monocytogenes: incident report.

  3. Added 'Listeria contamination of frozen vegetables: professional guidance'.

  4. Added guidance for health professionals on recall of Sainsbury's 'Deli Filler' products.

  5. First published.