Yersinia pseudotuberculosis bacterium confirmed as cause of epidemic of abdominal upset in Tuusula and Kerava


<div>In the last two weeks of August, some hundred people in Tuusula, most of them children of school age and kindergarten age suffered from an abdominal upset accompanied with a fever. Several tens of school children were ill also in Kerava. The most common symptoms include stomachache and fever, some patients also developed erythema nodosum. In Tuusula, fourteen patients were hospitalised and four underwent surgery due to suspected appendicitis. No new cases have occurred since. </div>

The disease was probably transmitted through raw vegetables served as part of school dinner. Both municipalities purchase their vegetables from the same supplier. Samples have been taken of the food served at schools as well as of the supplier's vegetables. The first analysis results will be obtained next week.

Another epidemic caused by Y. pseudotuberculosis was confirmed earlier this summer, at the turn of May-June in the Nurmes region. In that case the disease was transmitted through Finnish carrots. In recent years, several epidemics caused by Yersinia pseudotuberculosis have occurred among schoolchildren in Finland. Domestic carrots were proven to be the cause also in 2003 and 2004, while Finnish iceberg lettuce was the culprit in 1998 and 1999, and Chinese cabbage in 2001.

The Food Safety Authority Evira wishes to remind that hygienic work practices are extremely important when handling vegetables. All vegetables may contain pathogenic bacteria. Root vegetables should be peeled and other vegetables washed with plenty of clean water.


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