What is yersiniosis?

Yersiniosis is a diarrheal illness caused by one of the Yersinia species bacteria. People with yersiniosis usually have:

  • diarrhea
  • fever
  • abdominal pain

Who gets yersiniosis?

Anyone can get yersiniosis by eating food or drinking water contaminated with Yersinia bacteria.

How is yersiniosis spread?

You get yersiniosis by eating food or drinking water contaminated with Yersinia bacteria. If infected, you may also infect other people directly through the fecal-oral route.

While many animals carry Yersinia bacteria, the two most commonly infected animals are pigs and rodents. Raw pork intestines (chitterlings) are frequently contaminated with Yersinia bacteria. Raw or unpasteurized milk may also be contaminated with Yersinia.

What are the symptoms of yersiniosis?

  • Nearly everyone who has yersiniosis will have diarrhea, fever and abdominal pain.
  • Older children and adults may develop severe abdominal pain that resembles appendicitis (inflammation of the appendix).
  • Some adults may develop arthritis (inflammation of the joints) after the diarrhea has resolved.

How soon after exposure do symptoms appear?

Abdominal symptoms can occur 1-14 days after infection.

How is yersiniosis diagnosed?

Yersiniosis is diagnosed by isolating Yersinia bacteria from a person who infected with the bacteria. The bacteria are most frequently isolated from stool, but may also be isolated from other sources, including the throat, lymph nodes, and blood.

What is the treatment for yersiniosis?

Doctors can prescribe antibiotics for yersiniosis.

How can yersiniosis be prevented?

  • Thoroughly cook pork and all meat products before eating them.
  • When preparing meals, be careful to thoroughly wash your hands after handling these products, and especially before handling any other foods or drinks.
  • Be particularly careful when preparing raw pork intestines (chitterlings).
  • Avoid drinking raw or unpasteurized milk.

Where can I get more information?

Contact your doctor or the Southern Nevada Health District, Office of Epidemiology at (702) 759-1300.

Contact Information

(702) 759-1000

Updated on: August 21, 2018

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