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Background and objectives: Yersinia (Y.) enterocolitica is a zoonotic enteropathogen widely distributed in Europe, which can cause acute gastroenteritis and mesenteric lymphadenitis mimicking appendicitis. Several studies report a high prevalence of Y. enterocolitica in pigs and wild boars. No data are available on the prevalence of Y. enterocolitica in seafood.
Materials and methods: Seafood samples were purchased randomly from retail shops in Berlin (09/20015 – 04/2016). Y. enterocolitica was isolated by selective cold enrichment (PSB) followed by cultivation on selective agar (CIN). Identification, biotyping and serotyping was performed by mPCR assays. Results: The prevalence of Y. enterocolitica in seafood was 2.7% (6/220). Mussel (2/74), shrimp (1/88) and scallop (3/17) samples were positive for Y. enterocolitica. All isolates are non-virulent and 3 isolates could be determined as serotype O:8 while 3 samples showed an unknown serotype.
Conclusion: This study provides the first systematic prevalence study of Y. enterocolitica in retail seafood in Germany. Although the prevalence is quite low (2.7%) and all the isolates were characterized as non-virulent strains this study shows that seafood might be a potential source of infection with Y. enterocolitica.