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News, Illness | Outbreak of gastrointestinal bacteria – proven infection in Western Norway

The Norwegian Institute of Public Health warns that there is an increased incidence of the gastrointestinal bacterium Yersinia enterocolitica O3 in Norway. They suspect that a food has spread the infection.

The bacterium, which is related to a plague bacterium, leads to the infection yersiniosis. Outbreak investigation has been initiated in collaboration with relevant municipal chief physicians, the Veterinary Institute and the Norwegian Food Safety Authority, NIPH states.

Infection has been detected in 15 people in Norway.

There are most cases in Trøndelag with five, while infection has been registered in Viken, Rogaland, Vestland, Møre og Romsdal and Vestfold and Telemark as well.

– Probably through food

– Based on where the infected people live, it is likely that everyone is infected with yersiniosis through a food that is widely distributed, says senior adviser Heidi Lange at the Department of Infection Control and Emergency Preparedness at the National Institute of Public Health.

– Investigation work can be complicated and time consuming, and in many cases it will not be possible to find the source of the infection or to clarify whether it is a common source, Lange says.

Diarrhea, abdominal pain and fever

The most common symptoms are diarrhea, fever and abdominal pain, usually for 1 to 3 weeks.

Yersinia bacteria are transmitted mainly through food, usually pig products, vegetables or non-disinfected drinking water.

FHI states that good hand hygiene is important to prevent infection. Other preventive measures are to ensure that vegetables and salads that are eaten raw are well washed, and that pork is well cooked.

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