Caister Academic Press

Epidemiology, Virulence Genes, and Reservoirs of Enteropathogenic Yersinia species

Riikka Laukkanen-Ninios and Maria Fredriksson-Ahomaa
from: Foodborne and Waterborne Bacterial Pathogens: Epidemiology, Evolution and Molecular Biology (Edited by: Shah M. Faruque). Caister Academic Press, U.K. (2012)


Enteropathogenic yersiniosis is caused due to foodborne infection with Yersinia enterocolitica and Y. pseudotuberculosis. Several virulence factors have been identified that are common to these two pathogens even though Y. pseudotuberculosis is genetically more related to Y. pestis, which is typically transmitted by fleas and not through foods. Diarrhoea and abdominal pain are the most dominant symptoms for Y. enterocolitica and Y. pseudotuberculosis infections. Occasionally, complications such as joint pain and skin rash may occur, typically among adults. Most human cases are caused by Y. enterocolitica. The reported cases are mainly sporadic and outbreaks are uncommon. However, outbreaks of Y. pseudotuberculosis infection, often in school children, have occurred in Finland, Russia and Japan. The most important transmission route is proposed to be via contaminated foods even though these pathogens have seldom been isolated from foods. The low isolation rates are probably due to the low sensitivity of the culture methods. Y. enterocolitica infections have been linked to raw or under-cooked pork and pork products while Y. pseudotuberculosis infections have been linked to raw fresh produce and surface water. Pigs are so far the most important reservoir for human pathogenic Y. enterocolitica. The principal reservoir of Y. pseudotuberculosis is believed to be wild animals, especially rodents and birds. Transmission routes of these pathogens from animals to humans are mostly unknown read more ...
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