Listeriosis case definition

This document contains the case definitions for listeriosis which is nationally notifiable within Australia. This definition should be used to determine whether a case should be notified.

Page last updated: 17 January 2017


Only confirmed cases should be notified. Where a mother and fetus (≥20 weeks gestation)/neonate are both confirmed, both cases should be notified.

Confirmed case

A confirmed case requires either:

  1. laboratory definitive evidence.


  1. Clinical and epidemiological evidence.

Laboratory definitive evidence

Isolation or detection of Listeria monocytogenes from a site that is normally sterile, including fetal gastrointestinal contents.

Clinical evidence

  1. A fetus/neonate where the gestational outcome is one of the following:
    1. Stillbirth
    2. Premature birth (<37 weeks gestation)
    3. Diagnosis (within the first month of life) with at least one of the following:
      • Granulomatosis infantiseptica
      • Meningitis or meningoencephalitis
      • Septicaemia
      • Congenital pneumonia
      • Lesions on skin, mucosal membranes or conjunctivae
      • Respiratory distress and fever at birth


      In the absence of another plausible diagnosis


  1. A mother has experienced at least one of the following conditions during pregnancy:
    1. Fever of unknown origin
    2. Influenza like illness
    3. Meningitis or meningoencephalitis
    4. Septicaemia
    5. Localised infections such as arthritis, endocarditis and abscesses
    6. preterm labour/abruption


    In the absence of another plausible diagnosis

Epidemiological evidence

A maternal/fetal pair where one of either the mother or fetus/neonate is a confirmed case by laboratory definitive evidence (up to 2 weeks postpartum).


  1. The clinical and epidemiological evidence criteria for a confirmed case means that if the mother is a confirmed case by laboratory definitive evidence, then the fetus/neonate is also a confirmed case if they have the defined (fetus/neonate) clinical evidence, and vice versa.
  2. Laboratory definitive evidence in a fetus <20 weeks gestation means the mother only is a confirmed case.

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