Yersinia disease is a bowel infection (gastroenteritis) caused by a bacteria that is found in the faeces (poo) of some wild and domestic animals, and can contaminate certain foods.

Doctors are legally required to notify the Public Health Service of cases of Yersinia disease under the Health Act 1956

In the Nelson Marlborough district around 3 cases of Yersinia disease are notified to the Medical Officer of Health each year.

Symptoms

Symptoms may consist of the following:

  • Diarrhoea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

Symptoms begin within 10 days (usually 1-3 days) after ingesting the bacteria.

Occasionally, a person may carry the bacteria in their bowel but have no symptoms.

Contact your GP or Healthline (0800 611 116) for further advice.

How is it spread?

The disease is often spread by:

  • By eating contaminated food especially pork and pork products
  • Person-to-person by infected persons not thoroughly washing hands after using the toilet
  • Drinking water or milk contaminated by faeces(poo) or urine from an infected animal
  • An infected person who handles food
  • Farm or wild animals especially pigs

Prevention

Thoroughly wash your hands:

  • After going to the toilet and changing nappies
  • Before handling food
  • Before eating
  • After handling raw meat
  • After touching animals or animal faeces.