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A to Z: Yersiniosis

May also be called: Yersinia Enterocolitis

Yersiniosis (say: yer-sin-ee-o-sis) is a relatively uncommon infection that people can get by eating undercooked meat products (especially pork) or by drinking unpasteurized milk or contaminated water.

More to Know

Yersiniosis is caused by bacteria that can infect the digestive tracts of humans, cats, dogs, pigs, cattle, and goats. People can get yersiniosis by eating or handling contaminated foods or drinking untreated water or unpasteurized milk that contain the bacteria. Infants can sometimes get yersiniosis if a parent or caretaker handles contaminated food and then doesn’t clean up properly before handling the baby’s toys, bottles, or pacifiers.

Symptoms of yersiniosis usually appear 4–7 days after exposure to the bacteria and can last up to 3 weeks. Symptoms include fever, stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, and bloody diarrhea. Sometimes, older kids can also get pain in the lower right side of the abdomen that may seem like appendicitis. Anyone can get yersiniosis, but it is most common in young children.

Keep in Mind

Usually, people with yersiniosis recover within a few days without medical treatment. In some cases, a doctor may prescribe antibiotic medications to treat the infection. Most yersiniosis cases can be prevented by following rules for safe food handling, drinking only treated water and pasteurized milk, and washing hands frequently with soap and water.

All A to Z dictionary entries are regularly reviewed by KidsHealth medical experts.