What is campylobacteriosis?
It is an infection caused by the bacteria called campylobacter.
Incubation period: 1 –10 days (usually
3 – 5 days) after exposure to the bacteria.
Symptoms can include:
Duration: 1 – 4 days, occasionally up to
- Diarrhea or loose stools
- Abdominal pain and cramps
- Nausea and vomiting
How long is an infected person contagious?
An infected person can always spread the disease to others while they
have symptoms and usually for several days up to 7 weeks after the symptoms
How is the illness treated?
Usually no treatment is indicated except replacement of water and salts.
In severe illness and in the very weak, antibiotics should be given as
prescribed by a physician.
This illness is uncomfortable and even disabling for several days, but
deaths are rare. These infections are diagnosed when a stool specimen
is sent to the laboratory, cultured using a special technique for campylobacter
and the bacterium is found. It may affect between 2 and 4 million Americans
The most common source of campylobacter infections is contaminated poultry
meat. One third to one half of all raw chicken in the market has campylobacter
organisms on it. People become sick when they eat undercooked chicken,
or when they inadvertently transfer the organisms from raw meat or raw
meat drippings to their mouth. Simple measures will help prevent people
from getting this infection.
How is campylobacteriosis transmitted?
- Eating undercooked chicken
- Transfer organisms from raw meats or raw meat drippings to the mouth
- Drinking raw, unpasteurized milk
- Drinking untreated drinking waters,e.g., mountain streams
- Contact with infected dogs/cats etc.
- Occasionally from another person with the infection through the "fecal
oral" route (bacteria are passed in the stool of an infected person
and enters the mouth of another)
- Handling of live poultry
Some tips for preventing campylobacteriosis
- Avoid consuming unpasteurized milk and untreated surface water
- Wash raw fruits and vegetables
- Cook all poultry thoroughly
- Wash kitchen utensils (cutting board, knives et.) well with hot soapy
water each use
- Food handlers, health or child care workers must not work if they
- Make sure that persons with diarrhea, especially children, wash their
hands carefully and frequently with soap to reduce the risk of spreading
- Wash hands after having contact with pet feces
- Before traveling out of the country, consult with your health department
about precautions to take regarding food and water
For further information contact:
Stanislaus County Health Services Agency