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Clinical manifestations and diagnosis of Yersinia infections

Robert V Tauxe, MD, MPH
Section Editors
Stephen B Calderwood, MD
Sheldon L Kaplan, MD
Deputy Editor
Allyson Bloom, MD


The genus Yersinia includes 11 species, 3 of which are important human pathogens: Yersinia pestis, Yersinia enterocolitica, and Yersinia pseudotuberculosis [1,2]. The yersinioses are zoonotic infections of domestic and wild animals; humans are considered incidental hosts that do not contribute to the natural disease cycle.

Y. enterocolitica and Y. pseudotuberculosis cause yersiniosis, a diarrheal illness; human infection with Y. enterocolitica is much more common than human infection with Y. pseudotuberculosis. The clinical manifestations and diagnosis of these infections will be reviewed here. The epidemiology, microbiology, pathogenesis, and treatment of these infections are discussed separately. (See "Epidemiology of yersiniosis" and "Treatment and prevention of Yersinia enterocolitica and Yersinia pseudotuberculosis infection".)

Y. pestis causes plague and is discussed separately. (See "Epidemiology, microbiology and pathogenesis of plague (Yersinia pestis infection)" and "Clinical manifestations, diagnosis, and treatment of plague (Yersinia pestis infection)".)


Major clinical manifestations include acute yersiniosis (eg, acute febrile gastroenteritis) and pseudoappendicitis syndrome. A variety of complications (both gastrointestinal and extraintestinal) and post-infectious sequelae have also been described, as outlined in the following sections [3].

Acute yersiniosis — The incubation period for yersiniosis is typically 4 to 6 days (range 1 to 14 days) [4-6].

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Literature review current through: Nov 2017. | This topic last updated: Jun 12, 2017.
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