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Yersinia enterocolitica infections associated with improperly pasteurized milk products: southwest Pennsylvania, March–August, 2011

  • A. H. LONGENBERGER (a1) (a2), M. P. GRONOSTAJ (a1) (a3), G. Y. YEE (a3), L. M. JOHNSON (a4), J. F. LANDO (a3) (a5), R. E. VOORHEES (a3), K. WALLER (a2), A. C. WELTMAN (a2), M. MOLL (a2), S. B. LYSS (a6), B. L. CADWELL (a6), L. M. GLADNEY (a7) and S. M. OSTROFF (a2)...

In July 2011, a cluster of Yersinia enterocolitica infections was detected in southwestern Pennsylvania, USA. We investigated the outbreak's source and scope in order to prevent further transmission. Twenty-two persons were diagnosed with yersiniosis; 16 of whom reported consuming pasteurized dairy products from dairy A. Pasteurized milk and food samples were collected from this dairy. Y. enterocolitica was isolated from two products. Isolates from both food samples and available clinical isolates from nine dairy A consumers were indistinguishable by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis. Environmental and microbiological investigations were performed at dairy A and pasteurization deficiencies were noted. Because consumption of pasteurized milk is common and outbreaks have the potential to become large, public health interventions such as consumer advisories or closure of the dairy must be implemented quickly to prevent additional cases if epidemiological or laboratory evidence implicates pasteurized milk as the outbreak source.

Corresponding author
*Author for correspondence: A. H. Longenberger, PhD, Pennsylvania Department of Health, Room 933, Health and Welfare Building, 625 Forster Street, Harrisburg, PA 17120-0701, USA. (Email:
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Epidemiology & Infection
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