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Division of Epidemiology
 275 East Main Street
Frankfort, KY  40621
502-564-3418 or 3261

What is Campylobacteriosis

Campylobacteriosis is a bacterial infection that affects the intestinal tract and rarely, the bloodstream. It is caused most frequently by Campylobacter jejuni.

How Campylobacteriosis Is Spread

Most cases of campylobacteriosis are associated with eating undercooked chicken or pork meat, drinking contaminated water or milk or eating other food contaminated with the organism. Foods may be contaminated from common cutting boards. Infection may also occur from contact with infected pets, farm animals or infected infants.

The Symptoms of Campylobacteriosis

Campylobacteriosis may cause mild to severe diarrhea with abdominal pain, fever, nausea and vomiting. The illness is frequently over within 2-5 days and usually last no more than 10 days. Traces of blood and mucous are often present in liquid stools. Many infections are asymptomatic.

How Campylobacteriosis Is Diagnosed And Treated

Diagnosis is based on isolation of the organisms from a stool specimen obtained at your physician’s office or health care provider.

Your doctor will make the decision, depending on the severity of the symptoms, if you need antibiotics for the treatment of Campylobacter.  In some cases, antibiotic therapy may shorten duration of the infection.  Most will recover without any specific treatment.  Increased fluids should be consumed to prevent dehydration.

How Long A Person Can Carry The Campylobacter Bacteria

A person can transmit the bacteria in their feces as long as 2-7 weeks. Antibiotics may shorten the carrier phase.

How Campylobacteriosis Can Be Prevented

Always treat raw poultry, beef and pork as if they are contaminated and handle accordingly.
Wrap fresh meats in plastic bags at the market to prevent blood from dripping on other foods.
Refrigerate foods promptly; minimize holding at room temperature.
Cutting boards and counters used for preparation should be washed immediately after use to prevent cross contamination with other foods.
Avoid eating raw eggs or undercooking foods containing raw eggs.
Avoid using raw milk.
Encourage careful hand washing before and after food preparation.
Most infected people may return to work or school when their stools become formed provided that they carefully wash their hands after toilet visits.
People with bowel incontinence, unable to control bowel function, should be isolated until they are free from symptoms of diarrhea.
Special Considerations For Food Handlers, Health Care Workers And Children In Day Care

Exclude children from day care if they have: fever, vomiting, diarrhea, mouth sores with drooling, rash with fever, eye drainage, unusual color of skin eyes, stool, or urine. Children should be excluded from school and day care until symptoms of diarrhea have resolved.

Exclude symptomatic patients from food handling, generally until asymptomatic. The local health department can require two negative stool cultures taken at least 24 hours apart if they deem the patient’s personal hygiene to be inadequate.

Health care workers should not work until symptoms of diarrhea have resolved.


Last Updated 2/18/2005