Study Identifies Common Sources of Campy Infections

US - A CDC study of common source outbreaks of Campylobacter infection in the US between 1997 and 2008 revealed that Campylobacter is a common but decreasing cause of foodborne infections. Foodborne transmission was reported in 86 per cent of outbreaks; dairy products, poultry and produce were implicated in 29 per cent, 11 per cent and five per cent, respectively, of the food-related cases.
calendar icon 22 August 2012
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Campylobacter is a common but decreasing cause of foodborne infections in the USA, according to Dr E.V. Taylor of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta and co-authors there and at IHRC Inc. In their paper on-line in Epidemiology and Infection, they continue that outbreaks are uncommon and have historically differed from sporadic cases in seasonality and contamination source.

They reviewed reported outbreaks of campylobacteriosis. From 1997 to 2008, 262 outbreaks were reported, with 9,135 illnesses, 159 hospitalizations 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). 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. 2012. Common source outbreaks of Campylobacter infection in the USA, 1997-2008. Epidemiology and Infection, FirstView Article August 2012, p1-10. DOI:

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