Bovis ISSN 2398-2993

Yersinia pseudotuberculosis

Synonym(s): Enteric yersiniosis

Contributor(s): Veronica Fowler , Tammy Hassel




  • Kingdom: bacteria.
  • Phylum: proteobacteria.
  • Class: gammaproteobacteria.
  • Order: enterobacteriales.
  • Family: enterobacteriaceae.
  • Genus: yersinia.
  • Species: yersinia pseudotuberculosis.


  • Yersin - Swiss-born French bacteriologist.
  • Gk: pseudes - false; L: tuberculum - tuber; hump/swelling.

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Clinical Effects



  • Found in a wide range of animal hosts (mammalian and avian).
  • The bacteria survive well in soil, water and pasture.


  • Y. pseudotuberculosis is complex. A number of publications suggest that the organism is carried in the intestinal tract of healthy animals.


  • Common in wild birds which creates possible transmission route to cattle.
  • There has been published reports indicating a link between Y. pseudotuberculosis infection and grazing of cattle on waterlogged pastures at low temperatures.
  • Increased prevalence in the winter.
  • Stress events and exposure to large numbers of environmental bacteria cause disease. Stressors may include, weaning, poor nutrition, sudden changes in feed, cold/wet weather, transportation.

Pathological effects

  •  Y. pseudotuberculosis is a relatively homogenous species that is classified into four biotypes and over 20 different serotypes, each type including pathogenic strains.
  • Yersinia spp encode for a number of secreted proteins (yops-yersinia outer proteins). Yops cause paralysis of actin cytoskeletons of neutrophils and macrophages allowing replication of the bacteria.
  • Necrotic foci form in intestinal wall, abdominal lymph nodes, liver and spleen → vomiting, diarrhea or constipation, depression, anorexia and weight loss, icterus may develop.
  • Hepatic lesions: foci of severe necrosis surrounded by polymorphs containing bacilli. Surrounding hepatic parenchyma infiltrated by lymphocytes and plasma cells.


Control via animal

  • Reducing stressful events which may trigger replication of the bacteria.
  • Y. pseudotuberculosis is susceptible to ampicillin Ampicillin, cephalosporins, aminoglycosides, tetracyclines and chloramphenicol.
  • Treatment may require fluid therapy Fluid therapy: overview.

Control via environment

  • Limit interaction of cattle with other susceptible species (especially birds).
  • Limit cattle grazing on recently flood pasture.
  • Y. pseudotuberculosis is zoonotic Zoonotic diseases, ensure adequate hygiene practices.


  • Commercially available vaccines exist for some species such as deer.


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Further Reading


Refereed Papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Brown C C & Davis F N (1989) Yersinia pseudotuberculosis enteritis in four calves. J Comp Pathol 101 (4), 463-466 PubMed.
  • Callinan R B, Cook R W, Boulton J G, Fraser G C & Unger D B (1988) Enterocolitis in cattle
    associated with Yersinia pseudotuberculosis infection.
    Aust Vet J 65 (1), 8-11 PubMed.
  • Slee K, Brightling P & Seiler R (1988) Enteritis in cattle due to Yersinia pseudotuberculosis infection. Aust Vet J 65, 271-275 PubMed.
  • Behra G D, Garg D N, Batra H V & Chandiramani N K (1984) Isolation of Yersinia pseudotuberculosis from Bovine Calves with Enteric Disorders. Microbiology and Immunology 28, 237-241 PubMed.
  • Zen-Yoji H, Sakai S, Maruyama T & Yanagawa Y (1974) Isolation of Yersinia enterocolitica and Yersinia pseudotuberculosis from Swine, Cattle and Rats at an Abattoir. Japanese Journal of Microbiology 18, 103-105 PubMed.