Acquire the license to the best health content in the world
Contact Us

Could Listeriosis Become Thing of the Past?

Research may lead to vaccine against foodborne infection

FRIDAY, Feb. 27, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- Purdue University researchers have identified a previously unknown protein on the surface of intestinal cells, a finding that may help scientists develop a way to prevent foodborne Listeria monocytogenes infection and other disease.

"This research reveals a detailed mechanism that allows interaction of Listeria with a cell-surface protein, or receptor, on intestinal cells. Knowing the entryway into the cell will allow us in the future to develop a method to prevent that interaction," Arun Bhunia, a microbiologist in the food science department, says in a prepared statement.

"Listeria often is implicated in patients with weakened immune systems, so we think this research could also give us clues as to how other diseases work. This receptor is not unique for Listeria, so it also could be used by other organisms to take advantage and get inside a host cell to cause disease," study author Jennifer Wampler, a postdoctoral student, says in a prepared statement.

Listeria causes about 2,500 recorded cases of foodborne illness each year in the United States. It's the deadliest foodborne disease, with a fatality rate of 20 percent. It's especially dangerous for the elderly, pregnant women, and people with weakened immune systems, such as those with HIV.

The study appears in the February issue of Infection and Immunity.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more about Listeria.

SOURCE: Purdue University, news release, February 2004
Consumer News