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Clin Microbiol Infect. 2006 Aug;12(8):754-60.

Strain and host characteristics of Campylobacter jejuni infections in Finland.

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Department of Bacteriology and Immunology, Haartman Institute, University of Helsinki and HUSLAB Helsinki University Central Hospital Laboratory, Helsinki, Finland.


The relative importance of different risk-factors for Campylobacter infections and the role of bacterial strain and host characteristics are uncertain. Swimming in natural sources of water was recently described as a novel independent risk-factor for domestically-acquired Campylobacter infections. The present study investigated exposure factors and demographical characteristics (collected in a questionnaire), and determined whether Campylobacter jejuni serotypes could be linked to each other or to the severity of the disease in domestically-acquired sporadic C. jejuni infections during a seasonal peak in Finland. Swimming was associated positively with an age of <or= 5 years, and C. jejuni serotype Pen 6,7 was found significantly more frequently among patients who reported swimming. The geographical distribution among serotypes differed, in that 54% of the isolates belonging to the Pen 4 complex serotype were identified in the Helsinki area, and 74% of the Pen 21 isolates were from the Kuopio area. Pen 57 was associated with a disease of shorter duration, but no serotype could be linked to hospitalisation or antimicrobial therapy. However, advanced age was associated with hospitalisation and a longer period of hospitalisation. Risk-factors and sources of infection for C. jejuni infection may not be identical for all individuals. This study supports the concept that individuals belonging to different age groups and living in different geographical areas may acquire C. jejuni infections from different sources.

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