Campylobacteriosis

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Campylobacteriosis in Arizona

In 2004, there were 795 cases of Campylobacteriosis reported in Arizona. There were 13.6 cases of Shigellosis per 100,000 Arizona residents in Arizona in 2004. There have not been any recent outbreaks in Arizona involving Campylobacteriosis in the past few years; however the rates are increasing with each year.

What is Campylobacteriosis?

Campylobacteriosis is an infectious disease caused by bacteria of the genus Campylobacter. It is a disease that affects the intestinal tract and is one of the main causes of traveler's diarrhea. It is usually spread through contaminated food (particularly poultry), water and contact with infected animals.

Who can get Campylobacteriosis?

All age groups can be infected. However, children under 5 and infants and young adults are more likely to be infected. Persons who have weak immune systems show a greater risk of infection and have more severe symptoms. 

How is Campylobacteriosis spread?

Most cases of campylobacteriosis are caused by handling raw poultry or eating raw or undercooked poultry meat. One common way to become infected is by cutting poultry meat on a cutting board and then using the unwashed cutting board to prepare vegetables or other raw foods. The Campylobacter bacteria from the raw meat can then spread to the other foods. The bacteria do not usually spread from person to person, unless a large volume of diarrhea is present. Larger outbreaks due to Campylobacter are usually related to drinking unpasteurized milk or contaminated water.

What are the symptoms of Campylobacteriosis?

A person infected with campylobacteriosis will show symptoms of diarrhea (frequently bloody stools), abdominal pain, fever, nausea and sometimes vomiting. Symptoms usually start 2-5 days after they are exposed to the bacterium. The illness typically lasts 1 week. Some persons who are infected with Campylobacter do not show any symptoms at all. 

For how long can a person spread Campylobacteriosis to others?

Most of those infected can spread the Campylobacter bacteria throughout the time that they are ill, usually a week. Individuals that are not treated with antibiotics may still spread the bacteria for 2-7 weeks. 

What is the treatment for Campylobacteriosis?

All persons infected with Campylobacter can recover without any specific treatment. Patients should drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration. In more severe cases, antibiotics may be given and can shorten the duration of the symptoms.

What can I do to prevent getting Campylobacteriosis?

  • Cook all poultry products thoroughly. Make sure the meat is cooked throughout and that the inside is cooked up to 180°F (82°C).
  • Send back any undercooked poultry that you receive in a restaurant for further cooking. 
  • Wash hands with soap after handling raw meat products.
  • Prevent cross-contamination in the kitchen by using separate cutting boards for meat products and other foods. Carefully clean all cutting boards, countertops and utensils with soap and hot water.
  • Avoid drinking raw milk and untreated water. 
  • Supervise the frequent handwashing of children with diarrhea. 
  • Wash hands with soap after having contact with pet feces.

Where can I find more information on Campylobacteriosis?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website has additional information on campylobacteriosis.

Technical Information

Characteristics

  • Etiologic Agent: Campylobacter, a gram-negative, microaerophilic bacterium. Campylobacter jejuni and less commonly C. coli are the usual causes of Campylobacter diarrhea in humans. However, 1% of cases are caused by other species.
  • Mode of Transmission: Mainly through ingestion of the organisms in undercooked meat, contaminated food and water, or raw milk; from contact with infected animals. The infective dose for humans can be as low as less than 500 organisms. 
  • Period of Communicability: Throughout the course of the infection; usually several days to several weeks. Individuals not treated with antibiotics may excrete organisms for 2-7 weeks.
  • Incubation Period: Usually 2-5 days, but may range from 1-10 days depending on the dose ingested.
  • Clinical Features: An acute zoonotic bacterial enteric disease of variable severity commonly characterized by fever, abdominal cramps, and diarrhea (often bloody). 
  • Risk Groups: All age groups. All age groups. Infants and young adults are particularly likely to be infected.
  • Occurrence: Worldwide. These organisms cause 5%-14% of diarrhea worldwide and are an important cause of traveler's diarrhea.

Arizona Administrative Code: R9-6-310

  1. Case control measures
    1. A local health agency shall exclude a campylobacteriosis case
      from working as a food handler, caring for children in or attending a child care establishment, or caring for patients or residents in a health care institution until:
      1. One of the following occurs:
        1. A culture negative for Campylobacter spp. is obtained from a stool specimen, or
        2. Treatment is maintained for 24 hours; and
      2. Diarrhea has resolved.
    2. A local health agency shall conduct an epidemiologic
      investigation of each reported campylobacteriosis case or suspect case. For each campylobacteriosis case, a local health agency shall complete and submit to the Department within 10 working days after completing an epidemiologic investigation formWORD.
  2. Contact control measures:
    1. A local health agency shall exclude each campylobacteriosis contact with diarrhea from working as a food handler until a culture negative for Campylobacter spp. is obtained from a stool specimen or diarrhea has resolved.

Lab Criteria for Diagnosis

  • Isolation of Campylobacter species from a clinical specimen

Lab Tests