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, 31 (11), 2969-81

Current Evidence for Human Yersiniosis in Ireland


Current Evidence for Human Yersiniosis in Ireland

T Ringwood et al. Eur J Clin Microbiol Infect Dis.


Yersiniosis associated with abdominal pain was commonly reported in Ireland in the 1980s. However, the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) currently records only three to seven notified cases of yersiniosis per year. The most common cause of yersiniosis worldwide is Yersinia enterocolitica, and the leading source for this organism is consumption of pork-based food products. In contrast to the apparent current scarcity of yersiniosis cases in humans in Ireland, pathogenic Y. enterocolitica are detectable in a high percentages of pigs. To establish whether the small number of notifications of human disease was an underestimate due to lack of specific selective culture for Yersinia, we carried out a prospective culture study of faecal samples from outpatients with diarrhoea, with additional culture of throat swabs, appendix swabs and screening of human sewage. Pathogenic Yersinia strains were not isolated from 1,189 faeces samples, nor from 297 throat swabs, or 23 appendix swabs. This suggested that current low notification rates in Ireland are not due to the lack of specific Yersinia culture procedures. Molecular screening detected a wider variety of Y. enterocolitica-specific targets in pig slurry than in human sewage. A serological survey for antibodies against Yersinia YOP (Yersinia Outer Proteins) proteins in Irish blood donors found antibodies in 25 %, with an age-related trend to increased seropositivity, compatible with the hypothesis that yersiniosis may have been more prevalent in Ireland in the recent past.

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