Campylobacter

Campylobacter jejuni is responsible for the majority of cases of bacterial enteritis world-wide. The spiral microaerophilic gram-negative organism is widely distributed throughout nature, colonising both mammals and birds. Transmission to humans occurs through the consumption of contaminated food, especially poultry, milk and water. Infections have a one to seven day incubation period and the resulting disease is normally self-limiting lasting from days to several weeks.

Campylobacter enteritis is characterised by the destruction of the mucosal surfaces of the jejunum, ileum and colon. Symptoms include diarrhoea which can sometimes be bloody and can also lead to extra-intestinal symptoms such as fever, headache and myalgia.

Treatment. Fluid and electrolyte replacement is the normal course of treatment for C.jejuni infections, however for more severe cases showing bloody diarrhea, high fever or extended duration then antibiotics such as ciprofloxacin are used. Prevention can be achieved through the proper preparation of food, pasteurization of milk and protection of water supplies from contamination.