Yersiniosis is an infectious disease caused by a bacterium of the genus Yersinia. In the United States, most human illness is caused by one species, Y. enterocolitica. Infection with Y. enterocolitica can cause a variety of symptoms depending on the age of the person infected. Infection with Y. enterocoliticaoccurs most often in young children. Common symptoms in children are fever, abdominal pain, and diarrhea, which is often bloody. Symptoms typically develop 4 to 7 days after exposure and may last 1 to 3 weeks or longer. In older children and adults, right-sided abdominal pain and fever may be the predominant symptoms, and may be confused with appendicitis.
Infection with Yersinia can cause a variety of symptoms depending on the age of the person infected. Common symptoms in children are fever, abdominal pain and diarrhea, which is often bloody. In older children and adults, right-side abdominal pain and fever can be the predominant symptoms and can be confused with appendicitis. In a small number of cases, complications such as skin rash, joint pains or spread of bacteria to the blood stream can occur.
Most common in northern Europe (particularly Scandinavia), Japan, and Canada. In temperate climates, risk is higher in cooler months. The incidence among travelers to developing countries is generally low. A recent study in the United States found that approximately 6% of Y. enterocolitica infections were travel associated. People with high iron levels are at higher risk of infection and severe disease.
Diarrhea caused by yersiniosis generally goes away on its own, though in some cases antibiotics are prescribed. In infants, however — particularly those who are 3 months old or younger — it can develop into bacteremia. Infants who contract yersiniosis are usually treated in a hospital. Depending on the severity of the diarrhea, your doctor may suggest modifying your child's diet for 1 or 2 days and encouraging your child to drink more fluids (which may include drinks with electrolytes to replace body fluids quickly).