Infections caused by Yersinia enterocolitica manifests in the form of abdominal pain, diarrhoea accompanied by mild fever, and sometimes vomiting. Symptoms may last 3 weeks. In 2 to 3% of cases sequelae are observed. These include Grave disease (autoimmune thyroid disease), Reiter syndrome (association of urethritis, mucocutaneous lesion, and arthritis), eye complaints and rash, cholangitis, erythema nodosum, septicemia, hepatic and splenic abscesses, lymphadenitis, pneumonia and spondylitis.
Although a variety of animals harbour the organism, it is most frequently isolated with pigs. The route of transmission is primarily pork products e.g. tongue, gut, but also raw milk and milk products. The organism is psychotrophic and can grow at temperatures as low as 0°C. The illness can be effectively prevented through proper heat treatment of pork products and milk and prevention of cross contamination during food preparation.
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