Characteristics of Yersinia enterocolitica biotype 1A strains isolated from patients and asymptomatic carriers

  • R. Stephan
  • S. Joutsen
  • E. Hofer
  • E. Säde
  • J. Björkroth
  • D. Ziegler
  • M. Fredriksson-AhomaaEmail author


Yersinia enterocolitica biotype 1A strains are frequently isolated from the environment, foods, and animals, and also from humans with yersiniosis. There are controversial reports on the pathogenicity of biotype 1A strains. In this study, 811 fecal samples from asymptomatic humans from Switzerland were studied for the presence of Y. enterocolitica. Nine (1.1 %) of the 811 samples were positive for Y. enterocolitica 1A. These strains were compared with 12 Y. enterocolitica 1A strains from Swiss patients with diarrhea isolated in the same year. Almost all (20/21) Y. enterocolitica 1A strains carried the ystB gene, seven strains carried the hreP gene, and none carried the ail, ystA, myfA, yadA, or virF genes. Most (17/21) Y. enterocolitica 1A strains belonged to two major clusters, A and B, by matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS). Strains of cluster B were only isolated from humans with diarrhea; however, ystB and hreP genes were detected in strains from both clinical and non-clinical samples and from strains of clusters A and B. Using ribotyping, six restriction patterns among biotype 1A strains were obtained with HindIII enzyme. The most common ribotype (RT I) was found in strains isolated from humans with and without diarrhea. All biotype 1A strains had a unique NotI profile by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE), showing a very high genetic diversity. In this study, Y. enterocolitica 1A strains from clinical and non-clinical samples could not be clearly differentiated from each other. More research is needed in order to prove that biotype 1A strains are a primary cause for human yersiniosis and not only a secondary finding.


Fecal Sample Yersinia Enterocolitica Enterocolitica Strain Yersinia Strain NotI Profile 
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Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. Stephan
    • 1
  • S. Joutsen
    • 2
  • E. Hofer
    • 1
  • E. Säde
    • 2
  • J. Björkroth
    • 2
  • D. Ziegler
    • 3
  • M. Fredriksson-Ahomaa
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Institute for Food Safety and Hygiene, Vetsuisse FacultyUniversity of ZurichZurichSwitzerland
  2. 2.Department of Food Hygiene and Environmental Health, Faculty of Veterinary MedicineUniversity of HelsinkiHelsinkiFinland
  3. 3.Mabritec AGRiehenSwitzerland

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