Yersiniosis is a disease caused by the Yersinia enterocolitica or Yersinia pseudotuberculosis bacterium. It is associated with reproductive or digestive issues in animals.
This is a zoonotic disease, which means that animals can transmit it to humans. The bacterium is particularly resistant to heat and can multiply in refrigerated food. It can cause food poisoning (in French only).
On this page:
Yersiniosis affects cattle, pigs, goats, sheep, dogs and cats.
Wild animals can also be infected, particularly rodents and birds.
Signs of the disease
Animals generally do not show any symptoms.
Sometimes an infection by Yersinia enterocolitica causes vomiting, diarrhea, weakness and weight loss.
An infection by Yersinia pseudotuberculosis can lead to abortions in cattle and sheep, udder inflammation in goats and testicular inflammation in rams.
Protection and prevention
Several measures can help prevent this disease in animals and transmission to humans.
First, isolate sick animals from healthy ones.
Carefully wash your hands with soap and water after coming into contact with an animal and after touching food and kitchen utensils. Quickly dispose of animal excrement.
Do not drink untreated water, and regularly check your well water. Do not allow animals to access bodies of water you suspect to be contaminated.
Do not consume non-pasteurized milk and by-products from facilities without a milk processing licence. It is also important to properly cook all animal products.
Infected animals that do not show any symptoms can still transmit yersiniosis. Humans can be infected in different ways.
The bacterium is transmitted in an at-risk environment, such as a watercourse, grassland or a garden.
Infection can be caused by contact with a domestic or wild animal, via the fecal-oral route. For example, you can be infected if you play with an infected dog and then touch your mouth with your fingers.
The disease can also be transmitted from person to person via the fecal-oral route. For example, you can be infected if you forget to wash your hands after changing the diaper of an infected baby.
There is also a risk of infection by consuming contaminated food or drinks. The bacterium is particularly resistant to heat and can multiply in refrigerated food. Therefore, it can cause food poisoning (in French only).
Symptoms appear 1 to 2 weeks after contamination or after 2 to 3 days in very severe cases.
Sick people can have diarrhea, abdominal pain, a fever and skin rashes. Adults can also develop arthritis. Yersiniosis can sometimes be confused with appendicitis.