Finland on alert after Yersinia outbreak reports

Finland on alert after Yersinia outbreak reports

by Sue Jones
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National public health officials in Finland are monitoring the situation following local reports of Yersinia outbreaks.

Two outbreaks of Yersinia enterocolitica serotype O:3 have been reported to the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) in recent weeks from the South Savo and Helsinki-Uusimaa regions.

Another suspected outbreak has been recorded in the Pirkanmaa region but patient samples have not been serotyped. People fell sick between early and mid-February.

A total of 39 cases were noted in all of Finland in February 2022, which is less than the 55 infections in February 2021.

In February 2022, five cases of Yersinia enterocolitica from South Savo were reported to the Infectious Diseases Register, which is run by THL, while from 2019 to 2021 there were no illnesses at the same time.

An eye on the situation
THL does not routinely monitor the occurrence of Yersinia infections, and strains isolated from patients are not routinely submitted to the agency’s reference laboratory for typing.

Local food safety authorities report suspected foodborne outbreaks to the National Registry for Food and Waterborne Outbreaks, maintained by the Finnish Food Authority (Ruokavirasto) and THL.

THL asked hospital and regional agencies to monitor the local situation and report suspected foodborne outbreaks.

The agency also requested clinical laboratories to submit patient isolates related to outbreaks so they can be typed and to include Yersinia enterocolitica serotype and biotype information, if available.

Between 1995 and 2018, 13,344 Yersinia enterocolitica cases were reported in Finland with an annual variation of 414 to 876 infections.

Yersiniosis is an infection caused by the bacterium Yersinia enterocolitica. The most common symptoms in children are diarrhea, fever, and abdominal pain. In older children and adults, right-sided abdominal pain and fever could be the main issues. Symptoms typically develop four to seven days after exposure and last one to three weeks.

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