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Int J Food Microbiol. 1991 Jan;12(1):1-8.

Campylobacter: pathogenicity and significance in foods.

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  • 1WHO Collaborating Centre for Enteric Campylobacter, University Hospital St. Pierre, Brussels, Belgium.


In the last 10 years Campylobacter jejuni has emerged as the most frequent cause of bacterial gastroenteritis in man. Acute enterocolitis, the most common presentation of C. jejuni infection, can affect persons of all ages. C. jejuni has been found in virtually every country where investigations have been carried out. The frequent finding of dysenteric stools suggests that mucosal damage due to an invasive process analogous to that seen in shigellosis is important in the pathogenesis. Campylobacteriosis in man is mainly a foodborne infection in which foods of animal origin, particularly poultry, play an important role. Epidemiological investigations have demonstrated a significant correlation between the handling and consumption of poultry meat and the occurrence of Campylobacter enteritis. Barbecues appear to present special hazards for infection, because they permit easy transfer of bacteria from raw meats to hands and other foods and from these to the mouth. Milk is sometimes found to be contaminated and consumption of raw milk has caused several outbreaks of campylobacteriosis. Campylobacter can remain viable in fresh cheese for only a short period of time. The organism is also found in shellfish, such as clams. Campylobacter is probably very vulnerable to factors such as high temperatures and dry environments, and also to the presence of oxygen in atmospheric concentrations. Therefore, it is assumed that the organism does not persist in products like pelleted feed, meals, egg powder and spices, which are often contaminated by Salmonella. A number of preventive measures on different levels, taken simultaneously, are needed to reduce the incidence of campylobacteriosis in man.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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