Epidemiology and Infection

Original Papers

Gastrointestinal infection

Yersinia enterocolitica infections associated with improperly pasteurized milk products: southwest Pennsylvania, March–August, 2011

A. H. LONGENBERGERa1a2 c1, M. P. GRONOSTAJa1a3, G. Y. YEEa3, L. M. JOHNSONa4, J. F. LANDOa3a5, R. E. VOORHEESa3, K. WALLERa2, A. C. WELTMANa2, M. MOLLa2, S. B. LYSSa6, B. L. CADWELLa6, L. M. GLADNEYa7 and S. M. OSTROFFa2

a1 Epidemic Intelligence Service; Scientific Education and Professional Development Program Office; Office of Surveillance, Epidemiology, and Laboratory Services; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA, USA

a2 Pennsylvania Department of Health, Harrisburg, PA, USA

a3 Allegheny County Health Department, Pittsburgh, PA, USA

a4 Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, Harrisburg, PA, USA

a5 Career Epidemiology Field Officer Program, Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA, USA

a6 Scientific Education and Professional Development Program Office; Office of Surveillance, Epidemiology, and Laboratory Services; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA, USA

a7 National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases, Division of Foodborne, Waterborne and Environmental Diseases, Enteric Diseases Laboratory Branch, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA, USA

SUMMARY

In July 2011, a cluster of Yersinia enterocolitica infections was detected in southwestern Pennsylvania, USA. We investigated the outbreak's source and scope in order to prevent further transmission. Twenty-two persons were diagnosed with yersiniosis; 16 of whom reported consuming pasteurized dairy products from dairy A. Pasteurized milk and food samples were collected from this dairy. Y. enterocolitica was isolated from two products. Isolates from both food samples and available clinical isolates from nine dairy A consumers were indistinguishable by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis. Environmental and microbiological investigations were performed at dairy A and pasteurization deficiencies were noted. Because consumption of pasteurized milk is common and outbreaks have the potential to become large, public health interventions such as consumer advisories or closure of the dairy must be implemented quickly to prevent additional cases if epidemiological or laboratory evidence implicates pasteurized milk as the outbreak source.

(Received February 13 2013)

(Revised August 06 2013)

(Accepted September 18 2013)

(Online publication October 16 2013)

Key words

  • Foodborne infections;
  • outbreaks;
  • Yersinia enterocolitica

Correspondence

c1 Author for correspondence: A. H. Longenberger, PhD, Pennsylvania Department of Health, Room 933, Health and Welfare Building, 625 Forster Street, Harrisburg, PA 17120-0701, USA. (Email: alongenber@pa.gov)

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