Short communication: Persistent contamination by Listeria monocytogenes of bovine raw milk investigated by whole-genome sequencing.


Diagnostic Section of Piacenza, Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale della Lombardia e dell'Emilia Romagna (IZSLER), Strada Faggiola 1, 29027-Gariga di Podenzano, (PC), Italy. Electronic address: [Email]


Following the persistent detection of Listeria monocytogenes in raw bovine milk sold through a vending machine, the 120 lactating cows of the herd producing the milk were subjected to bacteriological investigation. A single cow with subclinical mastitis (1.2-1.3 × 105 somatic cells/mL) and persistent L. monocytogenes excretion was detected. The cow was subjected to antimicrobial therapy, but L. monocytogenes excretion remained high (>3.0 × 102 cfu/mL). Following culling of the infected cow, L. monocytogenes disappeared from the tank milk, and further isolates were recovered from the mammary parenchyma and lymph nodes of the infected cow. To investigate the clonal nature of the contamination, all isolates recovered in the study (n = 13) were analyzed by serogroup PCR, pulsed-field gel electrophoresis, and whole-genome sequencing. Our results demonstrated the clonal nature of the contamination. All isolates belonged to lineage II, serogroup IIa, sequence type 37, clonal complex 37 and harbored some virulence determinants. This case showed that, although relatively rare, prolonged milk contamination by L. monocytogenes can originate from subclinical and persistently infected cows, posing a health risk to consumers.


Listeria monocytogenes,bovine milk,vendor machine,whole-genome sequencing,