Campylobacteriosis (Campylobacter spp.)

Campylobacter (Campylobacteriosis)Campylobacteriosis is an intestinal illness caused by bacteria, and is a common cause of diarrhea worldwide. The infection is spread by the fecal-oral route, either directly by person-to-person contact or indirectly by eating or drinking fecally contaminated food or water. Person-to-person transmission is most common among children and in circumstances where hygiene practices are poor.

Image Content Provider: CDC/ Dr. Patricia Fields, Dr. Collette Fitzgerald / Photo Credit: Janice Carr


Symptoms usually start 2 to 5 days after exposure to the bacteria and can include diarrhea, abdominal pain, malaise, fever, nausea and vomiting. Symptoms typically last one week. Some infected people do not have any symptoms.


A person can become infected by eating undercooked meat and poultry, or by drinking contaminated water or raw milk. During food preparation, bacteria can be transmitted from contaminated foods to other foods or surfaces in the kitchen. This is called cross-contamination. Infection may also be contracted from close contact with infected puppies and kittens, farm animals or infected infants.

Campylobacteriosis occurs much more frequently in the summer months than in the winter.


Most people infected with Campylobacter recover without any specific treatment. People with campylobacteriosis are advised to drink fluids to prevent dehydration from diarrhea. Immunocompromised people, such as those living with AIDS or cancer, or transplant patients receiving immunosuppressive drugs are more at risk of serious illness.


Campylobacteriosis is easily prevented by practicing frequent hand washing, following good food handling practices, providing safe drinking water and by thoroughly cooking meat and poultry before eating.

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