Besides a classification based upon biochemical, serological and phage typing, one should consider two groups of Yersinia enterocolitica. The first is represented by the strains adapted to a specific host (human or animal), causing typical pathological disorders ; the second is made up with the strains isolated from environmental sources (small mammals, water samples, food) which have not yet a clearly defined host. Strains belonging to the first group present constant and stable biotypes, serotypes and phage types (as for example human strains in Europe found in enteritis which are biotype 4, serotype 0:3, phagotype VIII or biotype 2, serotype 0:9 and phagotype II X3), while those of the second group are extremely variable in their biochemical or antigenic characters and are carried, by human or animals, without pathological features. At the most, they are able to induce occasionally an atypical overinfection mainly due to the host status or to the ecological conditions. At present Yersinia enterocolitica infection has to be considered more as a disease occuring both in human and animals, with a possible common reservoir represented by various environmental sources than as a disease directly communicable from animal to man. © 1976.
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