Yersiniosis is a bacterial disease that generally affects the intestinal tract. It is a relatively uncommon disease and usually occurs as a single isolated event. Occasional outbreaks have been reported due to a common exposure. Yersiniosis disease is caused by bacteria under genus Yersinia. Although many species of Yersinia are found worldwide, most human illnesses are caused by Yersinia enterocolitica. Other species of Yersinia affecting humans are Y. pseudotuberculosis, which causes an illness similar to Y. enterocolitica, and Y. pestis which causes plague. Yersinia is a hardy bacterium that can survive in adverse conditions like refrigeration and environments low in oxygen.
The most common source of Y. enterocolitica infection in humans is pork (raw or undercooked) and pigs are considered the main carrier. Other strains of Yersinia are also found in many other animals including rodents, rabbits, sheep, cattle, horses, dogs and cats. It can also be transmitted through milk that was not pasteurized, inadequately pasteurized, or contaminated after pasteurization; or untreated water also transmitted by direct or indirect contact with animals.
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. In a small proportion of cases, complications such as skin rash, joint pains, or spread of bacteria to the bloodstream can occur.
Most people who have healthy immune systems will recover without treatment. Treatment of yersiniosis usually involves treating the symptoms only. For example, persons with diarrhea should generally drink lots of liquids to avoid dehydration. More severe or complicated cases may require antibiotics. Severe infections and infections in young children with diarrhea can be treated with antibiotics prescribed by a doctor. However, in more severe or complicated infections, antibiotics such as aminoglycosides, doxycycline, trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole, or fluoroquinolones may be useful.