Common Source Outbreaks of Campylobacter Infection in the US

A study of the sources of Campylobacter infection in the US between 1997 and 2008 reveals that dairy products are the most common vehicle identified for outbreaks. Sporadic illnesses were primarily attributed to poultry.
calendar icon 6 April 2013
clock icon 3 minute read

Campylobacter is a common but decreasing cause of foodborne infections in the US, according to Dr E.V. Taylor and colleagues at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.

In their paper published recently in Epidemiology and Infection they explain that outbreaks are uncommon and have historically differed from sporadic cases in seasonality and contamination source.

Their review of outbreaks of campylobacteriosis between 1997 and 2008 shows that 262 outbreaks were reported, with 9,135 illnesses, 159 admissions to hospital and three deaths. The annual mean was 16 outbreaks for 1997–2002, and 28 outbreaks for 2003–2008.

Almost half occurred in warmer months.

Foodborne transmission was reported in 225 (86 per cent) outbreaks, water in 24 (nine per cent), and animal contact in seven (three per cent).

Dairy products were implicated in 65 (29 per cent) foodborne outbreaks, poultry in 25 (11 per cent) and produce in 12 (five per cent).

Taylor and colleagues concluded that reported outbreaks increased during a period of declining overall incidence, and seasonality of outbreaks resembled that of sporadic infections. Unlike sporadic illnesses, which are primarily attributed to poultry, dairy products are the most common vehicle identified for outbreaks.


Taylor E.V., K.M. Herman, E.C. Ailes, C. Fitzgerald, J.S. Yoder, B.E. Mahon and R.V. Tauxe. 2013. Common source outbreaks of Campylobacter infection in the USA, 1997–2008. Epidemiology and Infection. 141(05):987-996. DOI.

Further Reading

You can view the full report (fee payable) by clicking here.

April 2013

© 2000 - 2024 - Global Ag Media. All Rights Reserved | No part of this site may be reproduced without permission.