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Clin Microbiol Infect. 2016 Feb;22(2):103-109. doi: 10.1016/j.cmi.2015.11.019. Epub 2015 Dec 11.

Campylobacteriosis: the role of poultry meat.

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Department of Medical Sciences, Clinical Microbiology, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden.
Department of Food Hygiene and Environmental Health, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland.
Department of Medical Sciences, Clinical Microbiology, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden; Department of Bacteriology and Immunology, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland. Electronic address:


The incidence of human infections caused by Campylobacter jejuni and Campylobacter coli, the main bacterial agents of gastrointestinal disease, has been increasing worldwide. Here, we review the role of poultry as a source and reservoir for Campylobacter. Contamination and subsequent colonization of broiler flocks at the farm level often lead to transmission of Campylobacter along the poultry production chain and contamination of poultry meat at retail. Yet Campylobacter prevalence in poultry, as well as the contamination level of poultry products, vary greatly between different countries so there are differences in the intervention strategies that need to be applied. Temporal patterns in poultry do not always coincide with those found in human infections. Studies in rural and urban areas have revealed differences in Campylobacter infections attributed to poultry, as poultry seems to be the predominant reservoir in urban, but not necessarily in rural, settings. Furthermore, foreign travel is considered a major risk factor in acquiring the disease, especially for individuals living in the northern European countries. Intervention strategies aimed at reducing Campylobacter colonization in poultry and focused at the farm level have been successful in reducing the number of Campylobacter cases in several countries. Increasing farm biosecurity and education of consumers are likely to limit the risk of infection. Overall, poultry is an important reservoir and source of human campylobacteriosis, although the contribution of other sources, reservoirs and transmission warrants more research.


Antimicrobial resistance; Campylobacter; Campylobacter coli; Campylobacter jejuni; infection; intervention measures; molecular epidemiology; poultry; transmission

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