Yersinia enterocolitica

Cell Wall: Gram Negative Shape: Rod
  • The natural hosts of Y. enterocolitica are a variety of wild and domesticated mammals and so the organism is considered a zoonotic
  • Transmission to humans probably occurs via ingestion of contaminated food stuffs
  • Notably, this organism can survive and proliferate even in the context of refrigeration
  • Ingested Y. entercolitica invade into the small intestine mucosa which can result in ulcerations
  • The organisms often spread to the mesenteric lymph nodes and characteristically cause lymphadenopathy of the mestenteric nodes, termed "Mesenteric Adenitis"
  • In a small minority of patients, the organisms can spread hematogenously and infect a variety of organs
  • Some strains elaborate an enterotoxin which may contribute to the clinical consequences
Clinical Consequences
  • Y. enterocolitica infection is primarily characterized by an infectious diarrhea which can range from watery to bloody
  • Abdominal pain is seen in many patients and often localizes to the RLQ which can mimic acute appendicitis
  • Although most infections are self-limited, in a small minority of patient, hematogenous dissemination can lead to a variety of more serious consequences
  • Because most infections are self-limited, antibiotic therapy is of dubious benefit