Epidemic Yersinia enterocolitica infection due to contaminated chocolate milk

N Engl J Med. 1978 Jan 12;298(2):76-9. doi: 10.1056/NEJM197801122980204.


In September and October, 1976, an outbreak of illness due to chocolate milk contaminated with Yersinia enterocolitica resulted in hospitalization of 36 children, 16 of whom had appendectomies. Infection with Y. enterocolitica serotype 0:8 was demonstrated in 38 ill persons. Sixty-one per cent of the persons who were infected had a titer greater than 1:160 OH agglutinins to serotype 8 yersinia, whereas 48 per cent of the hospitalized children had a fourfold change in agglutinin titer. An epidemiologic investigation demonstrated that illness was associated with drinking of chocolate milk purchased in school cafeterias, and Y. enterocolitica 0:8 was subsequently isolated from the milk. The investigation suggested that the bacterium was introduced at the dairy during the mixing by hand of chocolate syrup with previously pasteurized milk.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Agglutinins / analysis
  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Bacterial / analysis
  • Cacao*
  • Child
  • Disease Outbreaks*
  • Food Contamination*
  • Food Handling
  • Humans
  • Milk / microbiology*
  • New York
  • Yersinia / isolation & purification
  • Yersinia Infections / etiology*
  • Yersinia Infections / transmission


  • Agglutinins
  • Antibodies, Bacterial