Yersiniosis is an infection of the intestines caused by the bacteria (germs), Yersinia enterocolitica or Yersinia pseudotuberculosis . Children may have bloody diarrhea and adults may experience joint pain. For data on yersiniosis in New York City visit EpiQuery .
Anyone can get yersiniosis. However, most cases caused by Yersinia enterocolitis occur in infants and young children, while Yersinia pseudotuberculosis mostly affects persons aged 5 to 20 years.
Yersiniosis is spread by eating or drinking contaminated food or water. The Yersinia germs are found in many animals, particularly swine (pigs). Foodborne infections are often associated with contaminated raw pork and pork products.
Animals are the main source of Yersinia . Wastes from animals may contaminate water, milk, and foods and become a source of infection for people or other animals. The germ has been found in cold cuts, pork chitterlings, raw milk, ice cream, improperly pasteurized chocolate milk, tofu, shellfish, lakes, streams, and wild and domestic animals.
People infected with Yersinia bacteria may have diarrhea, fever, and abdominal discomfort. Symptoms may mimic appendicitis.
Symptoms usually appear within 3 to 7 days after exposure.
Yersiniosis is diagnosed by identifying the Yersinia bacteria in the stool (feces).
Yersiniosis may be treated with antibiotics, such as trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole. Yersinia is generally resistant to penicillin.
Since Yersinia bacteria are in the stool (feces), only people with active diarrhea who are unable to control their bowel habits (e.g., infants, young children, certain handicapped individuals) should be isolated. Most infected people may return to work or school when their stools become formed as long as they carefully wash their hands after using the toilet. Food handlers, health care workers, and children in day care must obtain the approval of the Health Department before returning to their routine activities. This may require follow-up stool testing to be sure that they are no longer infectious.
Keep your food safe from bacteria.
Wash hands often.
Last Updated: March 2012