Campylobacter enteritis : Overview, Causes, & Risk Factors

Alternate Names : Food poisoning – campylobacter enteritis, Infectious diarrhea – campylobacter enteritis, Bacterial diarrhea

Definition

Campylobacter enteritis is an infection of the small intestine with Campylobacter jejuni bacteria.

Overview, Causes, & Risk Factors

Campylobacter enteritis is a common cause of intestinal infection. These bacteria also cause one of the many types of traveler’s diarrhea.

People usually get infected by eating or drinking contaminated food or water, often raw poultry, fresh produce, or unpasteurized milk. A person can also be infected by close contact with infected people or animals. Symptoms start 2 – 4 days after exposure and generally last 1 week.

Risk factors include recent family infection with C. jejuni, recently eating improperly prepared food, or recent travel in an area with poor sanitation or cleanliness.

Pictures & Images

Campylobacter jejuni organism

Campylobacter jejuni infection causes cramping, diarrhea, abdominal pain and fever within 2 to 5 days after a person has been exposed to the organism. Campylobacter jejuni is one of the most common bacterial causes of diarrhea. Most cases of Campylobacter jejuni come from handling or ingesting raw or undercooked poultry meat. Although poultry and other birds are not affected by the bacterium, other animals can be. Therefore it is possible for a person to aquire the infection from contact with infected stool of an ill cat or dog. This is what Campylobacter organisms look like through a microscope. (Image courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.)

Digestive system

Digestive system

The esophagus, stomach, large and small intestine, aided by the liver, gallbladder and pancreas convert the nutritive components of food into energy and break down the non-nutritive components into waste to be excreted.

Digestive system organs

Digestive system organs

The digestive system organs in the abdominal cavity include the liver, gallbladder, stomach, small intestine and large intestine.


Review Date : 9/20/2008
Reviewed By : David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

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