Campylobacter infection is the most common bacterial cause of gastroenteritis in the United States- about 2.4 million cases occur in the U.S.. each year. While most Campylobacter infections present as self-limited cases of diarrhea, approximately 124 people in the U.S.. die of campylobacteriosis each year.


Most Campylobacter infections in humans cause diarrhea (often bloody), abdominal cramps and fever, but they occasionally result in bacteremia (the presence of bacteria in the blood) and septicemia (blood poisoning). The incubation period ranges from 2-5 days. Infection is usually self-limited, but sever infections require antibiotic treatment. Occasionally a secondary consequence of the infection can cause Guillian-Barre' Syndrome (GBS) and reactive arthritis. Approximately one in 1000 Campylobacter infections results in GBS, and immune mediated disorder of the peripheral nervous system. GBS causes acute flaccid paralysis 1-3 weeks following Campylobacter infections.


Campylobacter lives in the intestinal tracts of a variety of animals, including dogs, cats, cattle, sheep, goats, chickens, and turkeys. Most cases are often associated with birds which are often asymptomatic carries and have body temperatures that facilitate growth of the bacteria. Oregon participates in the Food and Drug Administration National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System (FDA-NARMS). FDA-NARMS tests poultry, beef, and pork from grocery stores for the presence of Campylobacter, Salmonella, and E.coli. In 2005, Campylobacter was present on 47% of raw chicken breasts tested. It was also present in the giblets, and especially the liver. More recent data from 2008 showed that about 80% of chicken breast samples were positive for Campylobacter. Not surprisingly, most human cases of campylobacteriosis are associated with eating raw or undercooked poultry or cross-contamination by these items.


• Thoroughly cook all meat, especially poultry, which should be cooked to a minimum temperature of 165 °
• Avoid unpasteurized milk and cheese.
• Avoid cross-contamination of ready-to-eat food with raw poultry
• Wash cutting boards with soap after cutting poultry
• Use separate cutting boards for meat/poultry and fruits/vegetables
• Wash hands after touching pet feces and farm animals, particularly before eating


CD Summary (2012), Vol.61, No.14

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