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Can J Microbiol. 1992 Feb;38(2):92-7.

Laboratory investigation of virulence among strains of Yersinia enterocolitica and related species isolated from pigs and pork products.

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Department of Veterinary Microbiology, Western College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Canada.


Eighty strains of Yersinia enterocolitica and related species isolated from slaughtered pigs and pork products were tested for possession of virulence-associated phenotypes by employing 12 in vivo and in vitro assays. The isolates could be broadly divided into two groups: (i) strains belonging to pathogenic bioserotypes of Y. enterocolitica that displayed virulence-associated characteristics in most or all assays and (ii) strains belonging to Y. enterocolitica biotype 1A and to related species that were largely negative in these assays. No individual test was found as a single reliable measure of virulence. All strains belonging to Y. enterocolitica serotype O:1,2,3 were pyrazinamidase positive (indicates avirulence) and autoagglutination negative but were positive in all other virulence assays. Salt aggregation was found to be a better indicator of virulence than latex particle agglutination, both of which measure surface hydrophobicity. Overall, tissue culture cell invasion provided the best selection of a subpopulation of yersiniae that are potentially virulent. However, crystal violet and Congo red binding assays among others provided good prediction of virulence at the time of testing. Our results provide further evidence that swine may constitute an important reservoir of human pathogenic strains.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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