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Commun Dis Rep CDR Rev. 1997 Mar 7;7(3):R33-7.

Outbreaks of campylobacter infection: rare events for a common pathogen.

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Gastrointestinal Diseases Section, PHLS Communicable Disease Surveillance Centre, London.


Campylobacter has been the commonest enteric pathogen isolated from humans in England and Wales since 1981, but few cases are linked to outbreaks. Twenty-one general outbreaks of campylobacter infection in England and Wales were reported to the PHLS Communicable Disease Surveillance Centre from 1992 to 1994. Seven hundred and six people were affected, nine cases were admitted to hospital, and no deaths were reported. The mean attack rate was 46.2% (SD 25.7%) and the mean duration of illness was 11 days (range 3 to 61 days). Outbreaks occurred throughout the year and throughout England and Wales. Infection in 18 outbreaks was reported to have been transmitted by food or water: eight were related to food (particularly poultry), six to contaminated water from a private water supply, and four to raw or inadequately pasteurised milk. General outbreaks of campylobacter infection appear to be unusual and should be investigated thoroughly. The new PHLS Campylobacter Reference Unit will assist in the identification of outbreaks of campylobacter infection and help to identify the risk factors associated.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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