Journal Article

Surveillance of Human <i>Yersinia enterocolitica</i> Infections in Belgium: 1967–1996

J. Verhaegen, J. Charlier, P. Lemmens, M. Delmée, R. Van Noyen, L. Verbist and G. Wauters

in Clinical Infectious Diseases

Published on behalf of Infectious Diseases Society of America

Volume 27, issue 1, pages 59-64
Published in print July 1998 | ISSN: 1058-4838
Published online July 1998 | e-ISSN: 1537-6591 | DOI:
Surveillance of Human Yersinia enterocolitica Infections in Belgium: 1967–1996

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Between 1967 and 1996, >18,700 strains of Yersinia species, excluding Yersinia pestis, were recovered in Belgium from a variety of gastrointestinal and extraintestinal sites in patients. Full identification and serotyping were performed by the two Belgian reference laboratories. Yersinia enterocolitica serogroup O:3 predominated (79.4% of strains), followed by serogroup O:9 (11.1%). The remaining 9.5% of isolates belonged to serogroups and related species generally considered nonpathogenic. Acute enterocolitis was the most common clinical form of Y. enterocolitica infection, affecting primarily children younger than 5 years of age. Since 1967, there was a steady increase in isolations every year, with 305 cases in 1975 and up to 1,469 in 1986. From 1987 on, there was a clear decrease in the number of reported cases, although the number of participating laboratories and culture techniques remained constant. This significant decrease in the occurrence of Y. enterocolitica infections may be explained by changes in the slaughtering procedures and eating habits of the population.

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Subjects: Infectious Diseases ; Immunology ; Public Health and Epidemiology ; Microbiology

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