Campylobacter infection is one of the leading causes of acute diarrhoea worldwide and is the most commonly reported bacterial cause of acute gastroenteritis in developed countries. It is also a major cause of traveller's diarrhoea.
Campylobacter jejuni is the primary cause of acute enteritis, causing 80% to 90% of all cases of recognised illness due to Campylobacter infection. Campylobacter coli is the second most common cause of acute enteritis. Campylobacter fetus is a rare cause of extra-intestinal infection, mainly in immunocompromised people.
Campylobacters are carried by a wide variety of wild and domestic animals, most commonly birds. Most C jejuni infections come from infected poultry.
Diarrhoea is usually self-limited and resolves in 5-7 days. Campylobacter bacteraemia is very rare.
Fluid and electrolyte replacement is essential. Only a small proportion of patients benefit from antimicrobial therapy.
C jejuni infection is a commonly identified antecedent to Guillain-Barre syndrome. C fetus is associated with endovascular problems (e.g., mycotic aneurysm, septic thrombophlebitis).
Bacteria of the genus Campylobacter cause a variety of infections, most commonly acute diarrhoeal illnesses. In patients with liver disease, immunocompromised people, and the elderly, Campylobacter infection can cause bacteraemia or extraintestinal infection. There are many species of Campylobacter. Eleven of them cause human illness, including enteric and extra-intestinal disease. The major human pathogens are C jejuni and C coli, which usually cause acute enteritis, and C fetus, which is the major pathogen causing extra-intestinal illnesses.
History and exam
- HIV infection
- exposure to poultry, cattle, sheep, or other farm animals
- eating raw or undercooked meat (especially chicken)
- recent foreign travel
- recent travel to developing countries
- drinking well or surface water
- drinking unpasteurised milk
- male sex
- age <1 year
- close contact with infected person
- use of proton pump inhibitors or H2 antagonists, especially in older patients
Professor of Medicine
Rosalind Franklin University Medical School
Professor of Pediatric Gastroenterology
University of Miami
Miller Medical School
Associate Director for Research
Internal Medicine Residency Advocate
Lutheran General Hospital
EDE declares that he is a consultant for Pediatric Pharmaceuticals. .
Dr Eli D. Ehrenpreis would like to gratefully acknowledge Dr Gregory Juckett, Dr Kristin Furfari and Professor Sarah O'Brien, the previous contributors to this topic. GJ declares that he has no competing interests. KF declares that she has no competing interests. SOB is the author of some of the references cited in this topic.
Section of Digestive Diseases
Department of Medicine
West Virginia University
JTK declares that he has no competing interests.
Consultant in Infectious Diseases and Clinical Microbiology
University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Windeyer Institute of Medical Sciences
SMJ declares that he has no competing interests.
Department of Population, Family and Reproductive Health
Bloomberg School of Public Health
Johns Hopkins University
MB declares that he has no competing interests.
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