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Aust N Z J Public Health. 1999 Oct;23(5):482-5.

A case-control study of Yersinia enterocolitica infections in Auckland.

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Auckland Public Health Service, New Zealand.



To identify major risk factors for Yersinia enterocolitica (YE) and identify measures to reduce YE infections.


A prospective case control study, group age matched, using 186 cases of YE identified by community pathology laboratories and 379 randomly selected controls. Conducted between April 1995 and June 1996 in Auckland, New Zealand. Face-to-face interviews used a standardised questionnaire examining exposures to factors potentially associated with YE infections including untreated water, unreticulated sewerage, consumption of selected foods, selected food handling practices and socio-demographic factors. Multivariate logistic regression was used to calculate adjusted odds ratios for the potential risk factors. Population attributable risk (PAR) was calculated for significant exposures.


Having more than two people living in the home was more common among cases than controls (OR = 2.2). Town supply water (OR = 0.2), reticulated sewerage (OR = 0.34) and looking after a young child (OR = 0.51) were significantly less common. Of the meats, only pork (OR = 1.34) had a higher consumption rate, while bacon (OR = 0.75) and smallgoods (OR = 0.73) were consumed less frequently by cases than controls. Eating food from a sandwich bar was more frequent among cases (OR = 1.18). Fruit and vegetable consumption was marginally less (OR = 0.98). The population attributable risk of these factors was 0.89, implying that 89% of YE would be eliminated if adverse exposures were removed.


The risk of YE illness is increased by contact with untreated water, unreticulated sewerage and consumption of pork. Investigation of non-town water supply, informal sewerage systems and methods of preparation and consumption of pork are recommended to determine how YE enters the human food chain.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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