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Yersiniosis is a bowel infection caused by the Yersinia bacteria. It is usually caught from eating contaminated or poorly handled food, often pork.

Other sources are infected household pets and farm animals – especially pigs. Untreated water, or an infected person who handles food, can also spread Yersinia bacteria.

Yersiniosis causes flu-like symptoms, diarrhoea (runny poo), and severe abdominal (stomach) pain. Sometimes joint pains can develop, and in a few people these are severe and disabling.

If you are concerned about yersiniosis, call Healthline on 0800 611 116 or see your doctor or practice nurse.

People become infected when they swallow the Yersinia bacteria.

This can happen:

  • when handling food, especially undercooked pork or other meats and small goods
  • when consuming unpasteurised (raw) milk
  • when drinking from an untreated water supply, such as roof, tank or bore water
  • from contact with domestic or farm animals
  • from contact with infected people.

Yersiniosis is not usually serious, and most people recover quickly without having to see a doctor. If the symptoms are severe, a person may need to go to hospital, particularly if they are very young or elderly and get dehydrated (their body doesn’t have enough fluid to function properly).

Between one to 11 days after contact with the bacteria, flu-like symptoms develop. Diarrhoea then starts, with severe abdominal (stomach) pain. Nausea, vomiting and fever often occur.

Yersinia infection usually lasts for two or three days, but can last for up to three weeks. Sometimes joint pains can develop, and in a few people these are severe and disabling.

Usually extra fluid and rest are recommended if you have yersiniosis. However, a doctor should always be consulted if symptoms are severe.

Don’t work in close contact with infants, the elderly or ill people until you have been symptom-free for 48 hours.

To reduce the risk of spreading yersiniosis:

  • wash and dry your hands carefully:
    • after going to the toilet or changing nappies
    • before handling food
    • after touching uncooked meats
    • after contact with domestic animals or pets.

Look after food carefully:

  • thaw frozen meat completely
  • cook meat thoroughly
  • keep raw meat separate from other foods in the refrigerator
  • store raw foods underneath cooked foods to prevent cross contamination
  • thoroughly clean knives, cutting boards and other surfaces after contact with raw meats.

Yersiniosis is a notifiable disease. This means that health professionals or laboratories will inform us when someone has it. This allows us to monitor the number of people who have the disease and give health professionals advice on how to reduce its spread.

People with yersiniosis who work in jobs where it could be easily spread, such as working with food, or in childcare or health care, will be contacted by us so we can talk to them about how to stop others from getting sick.

People become infected when they swallow the Yersinia bacteria.

This can happen:

  • when handling food, especially undercooked pork or other meats and small goods
  • when consuming unpasteurised (raw) milk
  • when drinking from an untreated water supply, such as roof, tank or bore water
  • from contact with domestic or farm animals
  • from contact with infected people.

Yersiniosis is not usually serious, and most people recover quickly without having to see a doctor. If the symptoms are severe, a person may need to go to hospital, particularly if they are very young or elderly and get dehydrated (their body doesn’t have enough fluid to function properly).

Between one to 11 days after contact with the bacteria, flu-like symptoms develop. Diarrhoea then starts, with severe abdominal (stomach) pain. Nausea, vomiting and fever often occur.

Yersinia infection usually lasts for two or three days, but can last for up to three weeks. Sometimes joint pains can develop, and in a few people these are severe and disabling.

Usually extra fluid and rest are recommended if you have yersiniosis. However, a doctor should always be consulted if symptoms are severe.

Don’t work in close contact with infants, the elderly or ill people until you have been symptom-free for 48 hours.

To reduce the risk of spreading yersiniosis:

  • wash and dry your hands carefully:
    • after going to the toilet or changing nappies
    • before handling food
    • after touching uncooked meats
    • after contact with domestic animals or pets.

Look after food carefully:

  • thaw frozen meat completely
  • cook meat thoroughly
  • keep raw meat separate from other foods in the refrigerator
  • store raw foods underneath cooked foods to prevent cross contamination
  • thoroughly clean knives, cutting boards and other surfaces after contact with raw meats.

Yersiniosis is a notifiable disease. This means that health professionals or laboratories will inform us when someone has it. This allows us to monitor the number of people who have the disease and give health professionals advice on how to reduce its spread.

People with yersiniosis who work in jobs where it could be easily spread, such as working with food, or in childcare or health care, will be contacted by us so we can talk to them about how to stop others from getting sick.

HEALTH PROFESSIONALS

There are specific requirements for notifiable diseases in the Auckland region.

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Last updated 29.11.2018

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