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Clin Microbiol Infect. 2004 Oct;10(10):868-76.

Campylobacter, from obscurity to celebrity.

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1
Department of Human Ecology, Faculty of Medicine, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Brussels, Belgium. jean-paul.butzler@pandora.be

Abstract

After its successful isolation from stools in the 1970s, Campylobacter jejuni has rapidly become the most commonly recognised cause of bacterial gastroenteritis in man. Reported cases of human campylobacteriosis represent only a small fraction of the actual number. In industrialised countries, the incidence of C. jejuni/Campylobacter coli infections peaks during infancy, and again in young adults aged 15-44 years. Acute self-limited gastrointestinal illness, characterised by diarrhoea, fever and abdominal cramps, is the most common presentation of C. jejuni/C. coli infection. The introduction of selective media has made the diagnosis of Campylobacter enteritis a simple procedure. In general, Campylobacter enteritis is a self-limiting disease which seldom requires antimicrobial therapy, although one in 1000 infections may lead to the Guillain-Barré syndrome. In industrialised countries, most infections are acquired through the handling and consumption of poultry meat. In developing countries, where the disease is confined to young children, inadequately treated water and contact with farm animals are the most important risk factors. Many infections are acquired during travel. Fluoroquinolone resistance has been reported in C. jejuni since the late 1980s in Europe and Asia, and since 1995 in the USA. The use of fluoroquinolones to treat animals used for food has accelerated this trend of resistance. In Australia, where fluoroquinolones have not been licensed for use in food production animals, C. jejuni remains susceptible to fluoroquinolones. The public health burden of Campylobacter spp. other than C. jejuni/C. coli remains unmeasured. Better diagnostic methods may reveal the true health burden of these organisms.

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