April 20, 2024
Infectious Diseases

Campylobacter Infection


Last Update: Feburary 23, 2023

| Overview | Causes | Symptoms | Diagnose | Treatment | Complications | Prevention |

1. Overview:

Each year, more than a million Americans become infected with “Campylobacter infection“. Raw or undercooked food, tainted produce, unclean water, and unpasteurized dairy products are common causes. Symptoms include diarrhea, vomiting, fever, headache, and stomach discomfort. The illness lasts for about a week and is typically self-limiting.

Infection with campylobacter is a form of stomach flu (gastroenteritis). Others refer to it as food poisoning. The most typical signs and symptoms include fever, nausea, stomach cramps, and diarrhea.

When someone consumes or consumes something that has Campylobacter bacteria, they develop this food-borne disease. You could acquire an infection if you consume enough microorganisms. Typically, one to seven days after coming into contact with the germs, symptoms appear.

The actual number of cases every year is unknown to researchers. That’s because the majority of individuals don’t seek medical attention for food poisoning, such as infections from Campylobacter. About 20 out of every 100,000 patients are given a Campylobacteriosis diagnosis each year by medical professionals. Yet, some calculations place the annual incidence of Campylobacter illnesses at above 1.5 million. One of the most prevalent food-borne infections in the US is this one.

If after a few days, your symptoms have not improved, you should visit your doctor. If they have symptoms of stomach flu, elderly people and young children should visit a doctor. The bacterium can make the very young and old unwell, and they must also be cautious of dehydration.

See a healthcare professional right away if you or a loved one starts to feel dehydrated. You could need intravenous (IV) fluids.

2. Causes of Campylobacter infection:

A person gets a Campylobacter infection after consuming food or liquids containing the bacteria. Food that isn’t cooked through or that isn’t cooked thoroughly can cause an infection. Common foods that may contain campylobacter include:

  • Chicken
  • Seafood
  • Dairy products
  • Natural water

The bacterium can also be acquired by unintentional contact with an infected animal’s feces (poop). Campylobacter can be carried by both dogs and cats. Furthermore, some people have contracted the illness after handling puppies up for sale in a pet shop. Always wash your hands after handling unfamiliar animals or cleaning up after a sick pet.

The largest risk of infection is among the very young and the elderly. Moreover, those with weakened immune systems are more susceptible to infection. Immune system deterioration can result from cancer therapy, immunodeficient conditions, smoking, or excessive alcohol consumption.

3. Symptoms of Campylobacter infection:

The symptoms of a Campylobacter infection are similar to those of the alleged stomach flu (which is not the same as influenza, or respiratory diseases). You might have:

  • Diarrhea
  • Stomach discomfort
  • Fever
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Headache

Not everybody will become sick. Individuals who do contract an illness typically have symptoms one to seven days after infection. Lesions last for roughly a week.

4. Diagnose of Campylobacter infection:

Stool samples are used in the most used test to identify Campylobacter infections. Your doctor sends a sample of your stool to a lab, where scientists check it for microorganisms.

The bacterium may occasionally enter your bloodstream. If it does, a potentially fatal infection could result. A blood test will be requested from your doctor to see if this has occurred.

5. Treatment for Campylobacter infection:

There is no cure for food poisoning in the majority of instances. The ailment will pass within a week or so. Antibiotics may be recommended if your healthcare practitioner finds evidence of a Campylobacter infection to hasten the healing process.

Your doctor will advise you to drink more water because vomiting and diarrhea can both result in dehydration. Moreover, remember to replenish electrolytes, which are vital minerals like salt, calcium, and potassium. Electrolytes can be helped by a sports drink.

6. Complications:

Most persons with Campylobacter infections don’t experience any consequences. There are dangers, though. Among such uncommon complications are:

  • Usually found on the legs, erythema nodosum is a painful infection of the fatty layer of skin.
  • The syndrome of Guillain-Barre.
  • Reactive arthritis is an infection-related joint inflammation.

Campylobacter infections are extremely contagious, making it simple to contract an infection. Yet, the majority of those who contract it will recover in approximately a week.

If you are worried about Campylobacter or have a diarrheal infection, you may want to speak with a healthcare provider if your immune system is compromised due to illnesses or chemotherapy.

7. Prevention:

With a little caution, you can prevent contracting Campylobacter food poisoning. Wash your hands to prevent getting infections:

  • Once you’ve blown your nose, coughed, or sneezed.
  • After changing diapers, using the restroom, or cleaning up a kid who just went to the potty.
  • Before and after attending to an affected person
  • After petting animals and removing their waste
  • After handling trash

You should clean toilets following usage by someone who has diarrhea. Wash your hands regularly in warm, soapy water if you have diarrhea.

Always wash your hands before and after handling food, especially raw food, to ensure food safety. Additionally helpful are the following suggestions:

  • Use different cutting boards for veggies and chicken/meat to prevent transferring bacteria to other foods.
  • After handling raw meat, wash worktops and utensils with hot, soapy water.
  • Cook the meat, especially the chicken, until no pink remains. Send the chicken back to the kitchen if it still retains pink when dining out.
  • If you are unsure whether the water has been tested for purity, avoid drinking it, even if it is from a stream.
  • Drink only pasteurized milk.


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