Listeriosis, a serious infection usually caused by eating food contaminated with the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes, is an important public health problem in the United States. The disease primarily affects older adults, pregnant women, newborns, and adults with weakened immune systems. However, rarely, persons without these risk factors can also be affected. The risk may be reduced by recommendations for safe food preparation, consumption, and storage.
Due to its frequent pathogenicity, causing meningitis in newborns, pregnant mothers are often advised not to eat soft cheeses such as Brie, Camembert, feta, and queso blanco fresco, which may be contaminated. It is the third-most-common cause of meningitis in newborns.