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Campylobacter


Information and images from the Health Protection Agency, UK, and the Centers for Disease Control, USA

Campylobacter is the commonest reported bacterial cause of infectious intestinal disease.

Two species account for the majority of infections: C. jejuni and C. coli. Illness is characterised by severe diarrhoea and abdominal pain.

Undercooked meat (especially poultry) is often associated with illness, as is unpasteurised milk and untreated water. The majority of infections, however, remain unexplained by recognised risk factors for disease.

Clinical information

Incubation period:
1 to 11 days (usually 2 to 5 days).

Common clinical features:
Abdominal pain, profuse diarrhoea, malaise; vomiting is uncommon.

Reservoir:
Gastrointestinal tract of birds (particularly poultry) and animals, cattle and domestic pets.

Transmission:
Raw or undercooked meat (especially poultry), unpasteurised milk, bird-pecked milk on doorsteps, untreated water, and domestic pets with diarrhoea.

Person to person if personal hygiene is poor.

The infective dose is relatively low but campylobacter does not multiply in food; foodborne outbreaks are rare. Large outbreaks from raw and inadequately pasteurised milk and contaminated water supplies. Occupational exposure when processing poultry in abattoirs may be implicated in some cases.


Information and images from the Health Protection Agency, UK, and the Centers for Disease Control, USA

Campylobacter is the commonest reported bacterial cause of infectious intestinal disease.

Two species account for the majority of infections: C. jejuni and C. coli. Illness is characterised by severe diarrhoea and abdominal pain.

Undercooked meat (especially poultry) is often associated with illness, as is unpasteurised milk and untreated water. The majority of infections, however, remain unexplained by recognised risk factors for disease.

Clinical information

Incubation period:
1 to 11 days (usually 2 to 5 days).

Common clinical features:
Abdominal pain, profuse diarrhoea, malaise; vomiting is uncommon.

Reservoir:
Gastrointestinal tract of birds (particularly poultry) and animals, cattle and domestic pets.

Transmission:
Raw or undercooked meat (especially poultry), unpasteurised milk, bird-pecked milk on doorsteps, untreated water, and domestic pets with diarrhoea.

Person to person if personal hygiene is poor.

The infective dose is relatively low but campylobacter does not multiply in food; foodborne outbreaks are rare. Large outbreaks from raw and inadequately pasteurised milk and contaminated water supplies. Occupational exposure when processing poultry in abattoirs may be implicated in some cases.

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