Annual Report

The Laboratoire des Listeria is homing the National Reference Centre (NRC) for Listeria and the World Health Organization Collaborating Centre for Food borne Listeriosis (WHO-CC). Its activities are shared between expertise, research, and training.

Expertise activities

The NRC is responsible for the laboratory-based surveillance of human listeriosis in France centralizing and characterizing L. monocytogenes strains from all sources. The NRC is in charge with the detection of outbreaks and takes part in epidemiological investigations for identifying possible common sources of exposure among clustered cases of human listeriosis. It also develops new technologies, to improve biological diagnosis and strain typing.

Research Activities

The laboratory carries out research in domains extending from pathophysiology to the management of L. monocytogenes infections. All these projects are linked to our expertise activities using clinical and epidemiological data collected in this context.

Biodiversity and phylogenetic studies of L. monocytogenes populations

Pulse Field Gel Electrophoresis (PFGE) and Multilocus Sequence Typing (MLST) were used as complementary tools for fine subtyping of L. monocytogenes strains and to trace cross-contamination between several food processing industries. MLST, which provides new and complementary informations about phylogenetic relationships among strains, is currently used for strains characterization and to analyze their evolution. An internet accessible database was developed for worldwide comparison and international collaboration:

Validation of new therapeutic alternatives

Several problems concerning the susceptibility of Listeria strains to antibiotics have recently emerged as confirmed by our own surveillance study. That is why we carried out a study combining epidemiological and experimental approaches in order to validate new therapeutic alternatives. We demonstrated that moxifloxacin, a new generation of fluoroquinolone, could be a prime alternative to the reference treatment of listeriosis.

Development of new biological diagnosis tests

We developed a real-time PCR assay for detecting and quantifying L. monocytogenes DNA in biological samples to improve the sensitivity of the diagnosis. This test was prospectively evaluated on a cohort of 162 cerebrospinal fluids collected from patients with high suspicion of central nervous system listeriosis.

The development of new candidate antigens for serodiagnosis lead to a prospective clinical evaluation and comparison of sensitivity and specificity of existing tests and recently developed tests, over a two-year period on a cohort of 200 confirmed cases of listeriosis and a cohort of 200 control cases.

Teaching and training

In the framework of our national (NRC) and international (WHO-CC) expertise activities on Listeria we participate to the formal and technical training of microbiologists involved in epidemiological and microbiological surveillance of listeriosis.

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Publications 2006 of the unit on Pasteur's references database

Activity Reports 2006 - Institut Pasteur
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