What is Campylobacter infection?
Campylobacter infections are caused by Campylobacter bacteria. Campylobacter is one of the most common causes of diarrheal illness in the United States. CDC estimates the disease affects more than 1.3 million people every year.
How do people get infected with Campylobacter?
Common sources of Campylobacter are:
raw or undercooked poultry, or food that touched raw or undercooked poultry or its juices raw (unpasteurized) milk contaminated water animals and animal poop (stool)
What are the symptoms of Campylobacter infection?
People with a Campylobacter infection usually have diarrhea (often bloody), fever, and abdominal cramps. They also may have nausea and vomiting. These symptoms usually start 2 to 5 days after contact with the bacteria and last about 1 week. Some infected people do not have any symptoms. People with weakened immune systems from medical conditions such as cancer or HIV/AIDS, or from treatments such as chemotherapy, may have more severe illness. Campylobacter occasionally spreads to their bloodstream and causes a life-threatening infection.
How is Campylobacter infection diagnosed and treated?
Campylobacter infection is diagnosed when a laboratory test detects Campylobacter bacteria in poop, body tissue, or fluids. Most people recover without specific treatment. Ill people should drink extra fluids while they have diarrhea. Antibiotics are needed only for people who are very ill or at high risk for severe disease, such as those with weakened immune systems.
Is Campylobacter infection serious?
Most people who get Campylobacter infection recover completely within a week, although their poop may contain campylobacter bacteria for several weeks. Campylobacter infection sometimes results in long-term health problems. Some studies have estimated that 5–20% of people develop irritable bowel syndrome for a limited time and 1–5% develop arthritis. About 1 in every 1,000 reported Campylobacter illnesses leads to Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS). GBS begins within a few weeks after the diarrheal illness. It occurs when the infection triggers an immune system reaction that damages nerve tissue and causes paralysis. The paralysis usually lasts several weeks and often requires intensive medical care.
TIPS TO KEEP YOU SAFE
Wash your hands.
Thoroughly wash your hands with soap and running water for at least 20 seconds during these times
Before and after eating After touching pets and other animals After touching pet food and treats or their food and water containers After cleaning up urine (pee), stool (poop), or vomit After using the toilet After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing After touching raw foods of animal origin, e.g., meat and poultry
Dry hands using a clean paper towel or air dry them. Do not dry hands on clothing.
Eat and store your food safely.
Always eat and drink in break areas away from places where animals roam or are caged and exercised. Keep food for people away from areas where pet food and treats are stored, and where animals roam or are caged and exercised.
Play it safe with pets and their food.
Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water right after handling any pet food Don’t let pets lick around your mouth, face, open wounds or areas with broken skin.
Sources: Centers for Disease Control, World Health Organization, Mayo Clinic