Genus of bacteria
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Listeria is a genus of bacteria that, until 1992, contained 10 known species, each containing two subspecies. As of 2019, 20 species were identified. Named after the British pioneer of sterile surgery Joseph Lister, the genus received its current name in 1940. Listeria species are Gram-positive, rod-shaped, and facultatively anaerobic, and do not produce endospores. The major human pathogen in the genus Listeria is L. monocytogenes. It is usually the causative agent of the relatively rare bacterial disease listeriosis, an infection caused by eating food contaminated with the bacteria. Listeriosis can cause serious illness in pregnant women, newborns, adults with weakened immune systems and the elderly, and may cause gastroenteritis in others who have been severely infected.
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