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Yersiniosis in New Zealand


The rate of yersiniosis in New Zealand (NZ) is high compared with other developed countries, and rates have been increasing over recent years. Typically, >99% of human cases in NZ are attributed to Yersinia enterocolitica (YE), although in 2014, a large outbreak of 220 cases was caused by Yersinia pseudotuberculosis. Up until 2012, the most common NZ strain was YE biotype 4. The emergent strain since this time is YE biotype 2/3 serotype O:9. The pathogenic potential of some YE biotypes remains unclear. Most human cases of yersiniosis are considered sporadic without an identifiable source. Key restrictions in previous investigations included insufficient sensitivity for the isolation of Yersinia spp. from foods, although foodborne transmission is the most likely route of infection. In NZ, YE has been isolated from a variety of sick and healthy domestic and farm animals but the pathways from zoonotic reservoir to human remain unproven. Whole-genome sequencing provides unprecedented discriminatory power for typing Yersinia and is now being applied to NZ epidemiological investigations. A “One-Health” approach is necessary to elucidate the routes of transmission of Yersinia and consequently inform targeted interventions for the prevention and management of yersiniosis in NZ

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