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Chapter: Modern Medical Toxicology: Food Poisons: Food Poisoning

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Yersinia enterocolitica - Microbial Food Poisoning

In young children, it usually manifests as a self-limited gastroenteritis or enterocolitis.

Yersinia enterocolitica

Source

■■  Milk and milk products.

■■  Undercooked meat products, particularly pork.

■■  Household pets.

■■  Human to human transmission.

Incubation Period

About 1 to 7 days.

Clinical Features

·              Three types of illness have been reported:

·      In young children, it usually manifests as a self-limited gastroenteritis or enterocolitis.

·      In older children, the illness takes the form of mesenteric adenitis and inflammatory terminal ileitis which may mimic appendicitis.

·      The third type usually strikes adults, manifesting as bacte-raemia, meningitis, arthralgia, or erythema nodosum. Complications include intestinal perforation, peritonitis, and gangrene of small bowel.

Nausea, bloody diarrhoea, and abdominal pain have been reported in patients following ingestion of pasteurised milk contaminated with Yersinia enterocolitica.

Iron loading can increase the virulence of Y. enterocolitica.

Use of desferrioxamine can also predispose to systemic infection.

Diagnosis

·              Stool culture by special culture technique of cold enrich- ment.

·              Culture of food, blood, skin abscesses, pharyngeal swab, etc. Serologic examination of paired sera.

·              Detection of the organism in foods and water can be done by polymerase chain reaction.

Treatment

·              Supportive measures suffice in most cases, since the disease is usually self-limiting.

·              Severe cases respond to tetracycline or cotrimoxazole.

 

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