Yersinia food poisoning, also known as yersiniosis, is caused by the Yersinia enterocolitica bacteria. Responsible for close to 4% of diarrhea cases in Northern Europe, it is found far less frequently in the United States. The severity of the food poisoning caused by the Yersinia bacteria can range from mild to a very serious depending on the amount of the bacteria ingested.
Most cases of Yersinia food poisoning come from eating contaminated animal products, especially raw or undercooked pork products. Contaminated unpasteurized milk and untreated water have also been known to transmit the illness. The bacteria is also carried by rodents, and can be transmitted to humans when food is consumed containing the urine or feces of an infected rodent. In rare cases, the illness can result from person to person or animal to person contact, mainly when the bacteria are passed from soiled hands to the mouth. Infants can be affects if their infected caretakers to not adequately clean their hands before handling baby bottles, toys, or pacifiers. The bacteria can continue to grow while in low temperatures, such as the temperature inside a refrigerator, so meat that has been left in the refrigerator for a long period of time may be host to a colony of Yersinia bacteria.
Yersinia food poisoning can exhibit a range of symptoms depending on the age of the affected individual. In small children, the typical symptoms are abdominal pain, fever, and diarrhea, which can contain blood. In older children and adults, the common symptoms include abdominal pain on the right side of the abdomen and fever. These symptoms mimic appendicitis and the two illnesses are often confused. In either case, the symptoms appear 4 to 7 days after ingesting the contaminated food and can last for up to 3 weeks. In rare cases, symptoms can last even longer.
Individuals usually make a full recovery 2 to 3 weeks after symptoms appear. In a few cases, complications such as joint pain or a skin rash may occur. The joint pain occurs most frequently in the wrists, ankles, and knees and develops about a month after the food poisoning symptoms appear. This complication usually resolves itself in 1 to 6 months. A skin rash, known as erythema nodosum, can appear on the trunk and legs of a person suffering from Yersinia food poisoning. Although more common in women, this complication has been found to affect both males and females. In many cases, the rash disappears within a month. Death from Yersinia food poisoning or its complications is extremely rare.
Most cases of Yersinia food poisoning resolve on their own without the need for medical treatment. In severe or complicated illnesses, the physician may prescribe antibiotics to shorten the length and lessen the severity of the illness. The illness occurs in children under 10 much more than any other age group, but is still a relatively infrequent cause of food poisoning. Yersinia food poisoning occurs more frequently in the winter than in the summer and is estimated to affect less than 1% of the population annually.
The Information contained on this page is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical or legal advice. If you feel that you or someone you know has food poisoning, seek medical attention immediately by visiting your doctor of by dialing 911.
Do I have a Yersinia Food Poisoning Lawsuit?
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If you or a loved one have been the victim of food poisoning, you should contact us immediately. You may be entitled to compensation for your injuries by filing a food poisoning lawsuit and we can help.