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J Clin Microbiol. Jan 1983; 17(1): 128–138.
PMCID: PMC272587

Virulence and phenotypic characterization of Yersinia enterocolitica isolated from humans in the United States.


Yersinia enterocolitica was recently reclassified into Yersinia enterocolitica sensu stricto and three additional species. With this new classification, it was of interest to reexamine pathogenicity previously ascribed to Y. enterocolitica. All available clinical isolates of Y. enterocolitica sent to the Centers for Disease Control from 1970 through 1980 were selected for characterization and comparison. One-hundred such strains had been submitted, from 21 states. Most (85%) were biotype 1, and O:8 was the most common of the 24 serotypes encountered. All strains were examined by several virulence assays. Two strains caused conjunctivitis in guinea pigs, 7 were lethal for mice, 54 invaded HEp2 cells, 18 produced a heat-stable enterotoxin, 9 were calcium dependent, 20 autoagglutinated, and 34 had a distinctive colonial morphology at 37 degrees C. Ten isolates of each of the new species that had previously been grouped with Y. enterocolitica (Y. kristensenii, Y. intermedia, and Y. frederiksenii) were characterized and were generally negative in all assays. This study points out pathogenicity differences among Yersinia species, confirms the complex nature of virulence in Y. enterocolitica, and confirms that no single current assay correlates with virulence in Y. enterocolitica.

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Selected References

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