Campylobacterosis is a bacterial infection that affects the intestinal tract, and sometimes, bloodstream. People get campylobacterosis from eating contaminated food or water, and sometimes by contact with infected people or animals. Campylobacter is a spiral shaped bacteria carried primarily in the intestines of many animals including pigs, cattle, dogs and birds (particularly chickens). It is estimated that nearly half of all chicken meat in the U.S. is believed to have some Campylobacter in it. Campylobacter may also be found in water supplies, milk, and other things in the food chain.
Campylobacter is the most common cause of foodborne illnesses. Therefore, it is important to thoroughly cook the meats of these animals to kill the bacteria. People infected with the bacteria expel it through their feces and do not need to be isolated or quarantined unless they are unable to control their bowel habits (such as infants and the elderly). Proper food safety training is vital to prevent Campylobacter food poisoning outbreaks. Most cases of campylobacteriosis are treatable, and most people recover on their own. Sometimes, antibiotics are used to treat severe cases or shorten the infection phase.
Symptoms of campylobacteriosis include and usually begin within 2 to 5 days after exposure to the bacteria:
- abdominal pain and cramps
In February 2009, several people became infected with campylobacteriosis after eating at a Chipotle fast food chain in Apple Valley, Minnesota. Health officials speculated that the Chipotle served undercooked meats to its costumers, causing them to become sick with campylobacteriosis.