Routine culture and cold enrichment were compared in a prospective study on the isolation of Yersinia enterocolitica from patients with intestinal disease. Healthy controls were examined with the cold enrichment method only. Y enterocolitica was isolated from 5.9% of 1635 patient stools, 3.4% of 206 appendices, and 4.0% of 555 control stools. Serotypes 0:3 and 0:9 were eight times more prevalent in patients than in controls. Other serotypes were twice as prevalent in controls than in patients. Cold enrichment did not significantly increase the recovery of serotypes 0:3 and 0:9 in acute enteritis, but it was responsible for all isolates of the other serotypes. Evidence is presented that the other serotypes are not pathogenic. In patient stools, Y enterocolitica was demonstrated less frequently than Salmonella (9.1%), and more often than Campylobacter jejuni (1.8%) and Shigella (0.1%).
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