Listeriosis is an animal and human foodborne disease caused by pathogenic Listeria spp. The aim of the present study was to characterize the distribution and the type of the lesions caused by L. monocytogenes in the brain of cattle and small ruminants from 1996 to 2010. Thirty-six CNS’s collected in the frame of Italian TSE passive surveillance activity were sampled to be evaluated by histopathology and immunohistochemistry. In 20 cases, samples for bacterial culture and serotyping were also available. Brain lesions were characterized by perivascular cuffs and microabscesses, areas of malacia, and meningitis in some cases. The lesions were more evident and severe in cattle than in small ruminants. Immunohistochemistry was positive in all cases and the 4b serotype was the most represented.
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