Campylobacteriosis Epidemiology

Campylobacter jejuni is the most commonly identified bacterial cause of diarrhea worldwide. The organism accounts for 2.1 to 2.4 million cases of illness in the United States each year. Risk factors for Campylobacter infection include consumption of chicken, sausage, red meat, and contaminated water; foreign travel; receipt of an antimicrobial agent; household exposure to chickens; and contact with pets (especially birds and cats). Between 25% and 50% of C. jejuni infections in the United States appear to be related to chicken exposure or consumption.

The age and sex distributions of Campylobacter infections are unique among bacterial enteric pathogens. In developed countries, there are two age peaks: younger than 1 year of age and 15 to 44 years of age. There is a mild male predominance among infected persons. The reason for this distinct age and sex distribution remains unknown. The epidemiology of Campylobacter infections is quite different in developing countries; Campylobacter diarrhea is primarily a pediatric disease in developing countries.

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