Be aware of the risks associated with the food products you buy and know how to prepare your food safely. Pork is most commonly associated with yersiniosis, but treat all raw meat as if it is contaminated and handle it accordingly. Handle and prepare food safely:
- Keep raw meats well wrapped and on lower refrigerator shelves so blood does not drip onto other foods.
- Thaw meat in the refrigerator, microwave, or under cold running water, not at room temperature. Refrigerate foods promptly.
- Do not eat raw or undercooked meats. To ensure meats are cooked thoroughly use a meat thermometer and take the internal temperature of the meat by inserting the thermometer into the thickest part of the meat. You must achieve a minimum internal temperature for red meats of 71º C (160º F). (Poultry must be cooked to 74º C [165º F].)
- Avoid direct contact between raw meats and other uncooked foods. When cooking or barbequing, use separate plates and utensils for raw and cooked meat. Use a separate cutting board for raw meats. If a second cutting board is unavailable, cut all other ingredients first before cutting raw meats.
- Wash and sanitize items that do not go into the dishwasher such as cutting boards, utensils, counters, kitchen sinks and tap handles:
1) Wash with warm, soapy water.
2) Rinse with warm, plain water.
3) Sanitize with a mild bleach solution – one teaspoon (5 mls) of bleach per quart (litre) of water.
4) Immerse items in the solution or spray solution onto surfaces and soak for at least two minutes to kill any bacteria.
Other ways to prevent infection:
WASH YOUR HANDS:
- Before eating
- Before handling food
- Immediately after handling raw poultry or meat, and
- before touching anything else after using the toilet or changing diapers, and
- after touching animals
If your local drinking water provider has issued a Boil Water Notice for your community, take the advice seriously.
Do not drink untreated surface water from a spring, stream, river, lake, pond or shallow well. Assume it is contaminated with animal feces. Boil or disinfect water from these sources that is used for:
- making ice cubes,
- washing uncooked fruits and vegetables,
- making baby formula,
- brushing teeth, and
- washing dentures.
Boil water for at least 1 minute at a rolling boil. At elevations above 2000 m (6562 ft), boil for at least 2 minutes.
Or, disinfect water using 1 drop of bleach per litre of water. Shake and allow to stand for 30 minutes before drinking.
Make sure children, particularly those who handle pets, wash their hands carefully before eating and on a regular basis if they suck their thumbs or put their hands in their mouths. Do not allow young children or those who have compromised immune systems to handle chicks, ducklings or reptile pets.
If a trip to a petting zoo or farm is planned, please see the Health File Petting Zoo and Open Farm Visits at HealthLink BC.
Yersinia is passed in the feces; therefore people with diarrhea that could be due to an infection should not go to school or work if they are in a high risk setting such as caring for people or preparing food. If you are a food handler, health care worker or work in or attend a day care, it is possible for you to transmit yersinia to others in these settings. Do not work while you have diarrhea or vomiting and do not return to work or day care until 48 hours after your last loose stool or episode of vomiting. This time period will ensure you have a chance to recover and lessen the possibility of transmitting the infection to others. See the guideline entitled Exclusion of Enteric Cases and their Contacts from HIgh Risk Settings in the BCCDC Communicable Disease Control Manual.