Campylobacteriosis

Campylobacteriosis is a form of gastroenteritis that is brought about by the Campylobacter bacteria. The symptoms usually manifest in 2-5 days after acquiring the infection.

All age groups are affected but the infection is quite common among children below 5 years of age and young adults. The elderly and those who have other health issues often end up with severe symptoms. In most cases, assessment of a stool sample is required to diagnose the infection.

What are the indications?

The usual indications of campylobacteriosis include the following:

  • Abdominal cramps
  • Diarrhea that might contain mucus or blood

    Campylobacteriosis
    All age groups are affected but the infection is quite common among children below 5 years of age and young adults.
  • Fever
  • Nausea and vomiting

What are the causes?

The campylobacter bacteria are present in the feces of various animals, including household pets and farm animals. Individuals who become infected by the bacteria are taken orally and can occur by:

  • Consuming poorly or undercooked meat particularly chicken
  • Drinking unpasteurized milk or water contaminated by the bacteria
  • Consuming cooked food that has been cross-contaminated by bacteria from raw food
  • Direct handling of infected animals and not washing hands properly

Prevention

  • Children with campylobacteriosis should stay away from school until the symptoms settle.
  • Adults should not go to work until the symptoms have settled especially if working as a food handler, healthcare or childcare worker.
  • Avoid sharing towels with the infected individual.
  • Avoid handling or preparing food until the symptoms have settled.
  • Wash hands using soap and warm running water after changing diapers, using the toilet or before the preparation of food.
  • Sanitize bathrooms and other surfaces on a regular basis.

Food storage and preparation measures

Always bear in mind that the risk of acquiring campylobacteriosis can be reduced with the following:

  • All raw foods particularly meat must be cooked while raw vegetables should be washed properly.
  • Wash utensils such as knives and cutting boards when used between raw foods and cooked foods.
  • All kitchen surfaces and equipment must be kept clean.

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