Background: Listeriosis is a rare disease caused by the bacterium Listeria monocytogens, the normal vehicle of which is food. The disease, which is largely confined to its risk groups of pregnant women, the elderly and immunocompromised individuals, has increased in incidence in recent years. In Portugal, listeriosis is not a notifable infection and available data are scarce. The objective of this work was to collate the available information concerning listoriosis in Portugal by compiling a retrospective study of cases recorded over a decade. Methods: Requests for case data on clinically confirmed listeriosis, recorded over the previous decade, were replied to by 23 hospitals and a National Institute of Health delegation. Results: 35 cases of listeriosis were identified for the period between 1994 and 2003 inclusive, the mortality rate being greater than 17%. According to the data collected in this study for the year 2003, the incidence of this disease in Portugal was at least 1.4 cases per million inhabitants in that year. Conclusion: The study demonstrates, for the first time in the widely available literature, that despite their being no cases of listeriosis in Portugal recorded in official reports, the threat of L monocytogenes to public health is of a similar dimension to that in other countries.