Our Research | MVAC Team
Campylobacter

Bacteria of the genus Campylobacter, enteric pathogens, causes the zoonosis infection, Campylobacteriosis. Campylobacteriosis causes 25% of traveler’s diarrhea and is extremely widespread, especially in countries without proper sanitization.  Diarrhea in American military alone, from diseases such as Campylobacteriosis, has caused medical costs totaling over 124 million dollars.

Campylobacteriosis affects roughly 1.3 million people each year, but is rarely fatal averaging 76 deaths per year. Campylobacter is transmitted through contact with infected feces, ingestion of raw or undercooked meat (mainly poultry) and contaminated drinking water.  Ingesting merely one drop of juice containing Campylobacter from raw poultry is enough to cause Campylobacteriosis. Once consumed, the bacteria penetrates gastrointestinal mucus, adheres to gut enterocytes, and releases toxins that induce symptoms.  The symptoms last about one week and include dysentery, fever, abdominal pain, cramping, vomiting, and nausea. Patients recover with rest and rehydration and no treatment is usually required. Patients with compromised immune systems may develop life-threatening symptoms that require extra care. In these cases, antibiotics (azithromycin, fluoroquinolones, erythromycin, tetracycline, or quinolones) may be necessary. Rare long-term effects of Campylobacteriosis include arthritis and Guillain-Barré syndrome.  The easiest diagnostic method is to culture a stool sample.

To prevent Campylobacteriosis, cook all meat thoroughly, wash hands before and after food preparation, and after coming in contact with feces.  In addition, wash all objects that touch raw meat and do not consume unpasteurized milk or untreated water.

The Center for Immunization Research conducted a challenge study to evaluate the efficacy of Rifaximin in preventing Campylobateriosis.  Read more about this study here.

Campylobacter Resources
CDC Campylobacter Information Page
WHO Campylobacter Information Page
Article: An unexpected threat to our armed forces overseas
PATH Campylobacter article