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Epidemiol Infect. 1996 Feb;116(1):27-34.

Association between clinical presentation, biogroups and virulence attributes of Yersinia enterocolitica strains in human diarrhoeal disease.

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Institute for Veterinary Bacteriology, University of Berne, Switzerland.


Traditionally the enteric pathogen Yersinia enterocolitica has been differentiated into biogroups. Despite being considered as non-pathogenic, biogroup 1A isolates have constituted a sizeable fraction of strains from patients with gastroenteritis in many reports. To establish a potential clinical significance for biogroup 1A isolates of Y. enterocolitica, clinical disease in patients with gastroenteritis excreting such isolates was compared with symptoms among patients found infected with pathogenic biogroups. Clinical data and isolates of 66 patients from whom Y. enterocolitica had been isolated by direct plating were available for study. There was an association between patient age below 3 years and infection with 'pathogenic' Y. enterocolitica. The severity of gastroenteritis and other symptoms, however, did not depend on the biogroup, or the presence of the virulence plasmid in the yersinia strain isolated from the patients. Strains belonging to biogroup 1A of Y. enterocolitica showed two clusters of ribotypes, one of which encompassed most isolates recovered from humans, the other being associated with environmental isolates. This might indicate the existence of human-adapted and potentially pathogenic strains among biogroup 1A of Y. enterocolitica.

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