Campylobacter

By Kaitlin Sundall

What is campylobacter?



It is an infectious bacteria that can cause food poisoning in humans. It is caused by the bacteria living in the intestines of healthy birds and raw poultry meats.

Symptoms include:

Diarrhea (mild to severe; often bloody)

Fever

Nausea

Vomiting

Abdominal pain

Headache

Muscle pain


Symptoms usually occur 2-5 days after consumption. Children under five and people 15-29 are most affected.

Sources

Raw poultry (especially chicken)

Unpasteurized milk

Contaminated water

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Treatment

Drink lots of fluids to stay hydrated and get rest. If you cannot drink enough to to prevent dehydration or if your symptoms are severe, call the doctor and you may be able to get certain antibacterials or antidiarrheals to shorten duration of symptoms.

Statistics

1. Campylobacter is estimated to affect over 1.3 million people a year

2. It contaminates up to 88% of chicken carcasses

3. It is the most commonly reported bacterial enteric pathogen in Minnesota

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Prevention

1. Choose the coolest part of your car to transport meat and poultry home from the store

2. Don't cook stuffing inside of birds

3. Make sure the thickest part of any poultry product you're cooking reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit

4. Wash your hands with soap after contact with animal feces

5. If someone in your household has the infection, make sure they wash their hands carefully and often to prevent spread