Listeriosis is a common infection among farm animals. Although clinical listeriosis is comparatively rare, several studies have reported a high prevalence of L. monocytogenes fecal shedding in beef and dairy cattle. Individual cows can shed L. monocytogenes multiple times, with each shedding event lasting over several days. This observation suggests that L. monocytogenes persists in the cattle gastrointestinal (GI) tract, rather than just rapidly transiting this organ.
The persistence of L. monocytogenes might impact cattle gut health through antagonistic interactions with GI tract microbial communities. By affecting the GI tract microbiota, L. monocytogenes carriage may compromise long-term resilience to illness. We investigate the reciprocal effects of L. monocytogenes colonization and the GI tract microbiota diversity in dairy cattle. Our long term goal is to develop customized preventive care to control listeriosis outcomes and improve animal health and resilience to infectious diseases.