Public Health Fact Sheet
What is Campylobacter?
Campylobacter is an intestinal infection caused by a bacteria named Campylobacter Jejuni. It is one of the most common causes of diarrheal illness in the world.
How is Campylobacter spread?
Campylobacter is spread by eating food that is contaminated with the bacteria (these germs are often found in undercooked meat and poultry). It can also be caused by contamination other foods by these items. For example, a person can get infected when a cutting board that has been used to cut and prepare raw chicken isn't washed before it is used to prepare other foods like salad. It can also be transmitted by drinking contaminated water and unpasteurized milk or from contact with feces of infected dogs, cats, and other animals. This organism is not readily transmitted person to person except from children in diapers.
How is Campylobacter treated?
Most people with campylobacter recover without specific treatment. It is important to stay well hydrated to replace fluids lost due to diarrhea. Antibiotics may shorten the duration of infection and prevent relapse if given early in the illness. If you are a food-handler, or work at, or attend a day care, you should be off work or not attend until you no longer having symptoms. Most people with campylobacter recover completely within a week. However, an infected person may continue to shed the bacteria in their stool for several weeks after recovery which may result in person-to-person transmission.
How can we prevent Campylobacter?
- Practice good hygiene and always wash your hands after going to the toilet and before preparing food.
- Thoroughly cook all poultry, meats and eggs.
- Wash in hot soapy water all utensils or cutting boards that were used for raw meat/poultry.
- Don’t drink water from unknown or unsafe sources.
Symptoms of Campylobacter
- Abdominal pain