During the 1980s, investigation of several large epidemics of listeriosis confirmed that transmission of L. monocytogenes in food causes human disease. Progress in laboratory detection and subtyping of the organism has enhanced our ability to compare human and environmental isolates of L. monocytogenes. Transmission by foodborne organisms is now recognized as causing both epidemic and sporadic listeriosis. Continued study of dietary risk factors associated with listeriosis is needed in order to develop dietary recommendations for the expanding population at increased risk of disease. Current research application of new molecular methods to the study of L. monocytogenes may improve the ability to diagnose pregnancy-associated disease and permit the rapid detection and control of L. monocytogenes in the food supply.

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