By NewsDesk  @bactiman63

The Norwegian Institute of Public Health has discovered an increased incidence of the gastrointestinal bacterium Yersinia enterocolitica O3. So far, infection has been detected in 10 people who live in several counties. Outbreak investigation has been initiated in collaboration with relevant municipal chief physicians, the Veterinary Institute and the Norwegian Food Safety Authority.

Image/Robert Herriman

The patients are between 11 and 59 years old, and all are women. The infected live in Innlandet, Viken, Oslo, Vestfold and Telemark, and Vestland. Bacteria with a similar DNA profile have been detected in all 10 people and all samples have been taken during the last two weeks in November and the first week in December.

The National Institute of Public Health collaborates with the municipal health service, the Norwegian Food Safety Authority and the Norwegian Veterinary Institute to map whether patients can have a common source of infection. The patients are interviewed and the local Norwegian Food Safety Authority takes samples from food products in the homes of those who are infected, if residues are available, in order to identify the source of the outbreak if possible.

Investigation work can be complicated and time consuming, and in many cases it will not be possible to find the source of infection or to clarify whether it is a common source, says senior researcher Umaer Naseer at the Department of Infection Control and Emergency Preparedness.

Yersiniosis is an infection caused by the bacterium Yersinia enterocolitica . The most common symptoms are diarrhea, fever and abdominal pain, usually lasting 1-3 weeks. The reservoir for the bacterium is primarily pig. Dogs and cats can also be carriers of the bacterium.

Yersinia bacteria are transmitted mainly through food, usually through infected pork products, contaminated vegetables or salads and the use of non-disinfected drinking water.

Every year, between 40-80 cases of yersiniosis are reported to the National Institute of Public Health. Most are infected domestically (60-80 percent of reported cases).