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Yersinia enterocolitica: Epidemiological Studies and Outbreaks

DOI: 10.4061/2011/239391

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Abstract:

Yersinia enterocolitica is the most common bacteriological cause of gastrointestinal disease in many developed and developing countries. Although contaminated food is the main source of human infection due to Y. enterocolitica, animal reservoir and contaminated environment are also considered as other possible infection sources for human in epidemiological studies. Molecular based epidemiological studies are found to be more efficient in investigating the occurrence of human pathogenic Y. enterocolitica in natural samples, in addition to conventional culture based studies. 1. Introduction Foodborne diseases are a widespread and growing public health problem in developed and developing countries [1]. Amongst those, yersiniosis due to infection with the bacterium Yersinia enterocolitica is the frequently reported zoonotic gastrointestinal disease after campylobacteriosis and salmonellosis in many developed countries, especially in temperate zones [2]. Within developed countries, incidences of yersiniosis and foodborne outbreaks are appeared to be lower in the United States than many European countries [3–5]. In European countries, numbers of reported cases of human in England and Wales are lower than those in other European countries where fewer than 0.1 cases of yersiniosis per 100,000 individuals were reported in the United Kingdom in 2005, in contrast to 12.2 in Finland and 6.8 in Germany [6]. On the other hand, the high prevalence of gastrointestinal illness including fatal cases due to yersiniosis is also observed in many developing countries like Bangladesh [7], Iraq [8], Iran [9], and Nigeria [10], which indicates major underlying food safety problems in low- and middle-income countries. Worldwide, infection with Y. enterocolitica occurs most often in infants and young children with common symptoms like fever, abdominal pain, and diarrhea, which is often bloody. Older children and young adults are not out of risk. The predominant symptoms within these age groups are right-sided abdominal pain and fever, sometimes confused with appendicitis. Occasionally, the Y. enterocolitica associated complications such as skin rash, joint pains, or spread of bacteria to the bloodstream can also occur. Although Y. enterocolitica is a ubiquitous microorganism, the majority of isolates recovered from asymptomatic carriers, infected animals, contaminated food, untreated water, and contaminated environmental samples are nonpathogenic having no clinical importance [11]. At the same time, the epidemiology of Y. enterocolitica infections is complex and remains poorly

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