Campylobacter Infections: DBMD


Article title: Campylobacter Infections: DBMD
Conditions: Campylobacter
Source: DBMD

Campylobacter Infections

Clinical Features Fever, abdominal cramps, and diarrhea (often bloody). Illness typically lasts one week.
Etiologic Agent Campylobacter, a gram-negative, microaerophilic bacterium. Virtually all human illness is caused by one species, Campylobacter jejuni, but 1% are caused by other species.
Incidence Campylobacter is the most common bacterial cause of diarrheal illness. Incidence is about 20 cases per 100,000 population diagnosed in the United States. An estimated 2.4 million persons are affected each year.
Sequelae An estimated 124 fatal cases each year. Can cause life-threatening sepsis in persons with compromised immune systems. Approximately 1 in 1000 diagnosed infections lead to Guillain-Barre syndrome, a paralysis that lasts several weeks and usually requires intensive care.
Transmission Contaminated food (particularly poultry), water, or contact with infected animals (particularly cats and puppies).
Risk Groups All age groups. Infants and young adults are particularly likely to be infected.
Surveillance National surveillance is conducted through the Public Health Laboratory Information System (PHLIS). Active laboratory- and population-based surveillance is conducted in FoodNet sites. Surveillance for resistance to antimicrobial agents is conducted through the National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System (NARMS).
Trends Most cases are isolated, or sporadic events, not part of outbreaks; 80% of poultry for human consumption is contaminated with Campylobacter. In 2000, 14% of human Campylobacter infections were due to fluoroquinolone-resistant organisms.
Challenges Detecting outbreaks. Determining the fraction of cases related to poultry. Decreasing the contamination of poultry meat. Consumer education. Reducing the development of resistant strains. Identifying sources and syndromes associated with campylobacters other than jejuni. Preventing the sale of raw milk.
Opportunities Improving detection of dispersed outbreaks through molecular subtyping. Determining risk-factors for sporadic illness, for Guillain-Barré syndrome, and for resistant infections.

December 2001


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