are 3 pathogenic species in the genus Yersinia, but only Y.
enterocolitica and Y. pseudotuberculosis cause gastroenteritis.
Food borne outbreaks caused by Y. pseudotuberculosis have
been reported in Japan. Y. pestis , the causative agent
of "the plague," is genetically very similar to Y.
pseudotuberculosis but infects humans by routes other than
is frequently characterized by such symptoms as gastroenteritis
with diarrhea and/or vomiting; but, fever and abdominal pain are
hallmark symptoms. Yersinia infections mimic appendicitis
and mesenteric lymphadenitis, but may also cause infections of other
sites such as wounds, joints and the urinary tract.
onset starts 24 and 48 hours after ingestion, which (with food or
drink as vehicle) is the usual route of infection.
of yersiniosis begins with isolation it from the indivual's feces,
blood, or vomit, and sometimes at the time of appendectomy. Confirmation
occurs with the isolation, as well as biochemical and serological
identification, of Y. enterocolitica from both the human
host and the food. Diarrhea is reported in 80% of cases; abdominal
pain and fever are the most reliable symptoms.
of the difficulties in isolating yersiniae from feces,
several countries rely on serology. Acute and convalescent patient
sera are titered against the suspect serotype of Yersinia spp
. Yersiniosis has been misdiagnosed as appendicitis
enterocolitica can be found
in meats (pork, beef, lamb, etc.), oysters, fish, and raw milk.
The exact cause of the food contamination is unknown. Poor sanitation
and improper sterilization techniques by food handlers, including
improper storage, contribute to contamination. It is rare unless
a breakdown occurs in food processing techniques.
estimates that about 17,000 cases occur annually in the USA but
it is far more common in Northern Europe, Scandinavia, and Japan.
major "complication" is the performance of unnecessary
appendectomies, since one of the main symptoms of infections is
abdominal pain of the lower right quadrant.
Y. enterocolitica and Y. pseudotuberculosis
are associated with reactive arthritis, which may occur alone even
in the absence of obvious symptoms.
rare complication is bacteremia (entrance of organisms into the
: Yersinia enterocolitica
39(45):1990 Nov 16