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Public Health - Seattle & King County

Yersiniosis

Yersinia enterocolitica, and less commonly other Yersinia species, are bacteria that cause acute diarrhea. Infection is usually spread by food or water contaminated by feces or urine from infected humans, animals or pets, and raw pork or pork products. Yersiniosis is likely underdiagnosed because in many laboratories it is not included in routine stool culture for gastrointestinal pathogens.

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Yersiniosis in King County

Purpose of surveillance:

  • To identify common source outbreaks
  • To identify and eliminate sources of transmission

Yersiniosis case data

Local epidemiology:

Sixteen cases of yersiniosis were reported in 2013, compared to a 5-year average of 10 cases per year. Beginning in early 2011, laboratories were required to report positive results for yersiniosis, which typically leads to an increase in the number of reports. Four of the cases were hospitalized, and none died. Twelve cases were exposed in King County, one was exposed during travel to Europe, and three cases had undetermined places of exposure. Ten cases reported consumption of pork during their exposure period.

No outbreaks of yersiniosis have been identified in King County in the past 20 years.

Each year in Washington state between 20 and 40 cases are reported.