Epidemiology and Infection

Public health implications of campylobacter outbreaks in England and Wales, 1995–9: epidemiological and microbiological investigations

J. A.  FROST  a1 c1, I. A.  GILLESPIE  a2 and S. J.  O'BRIEN  a2
a1 Campylobacter Reference Unit Laboratory of Enteric Pathogens Central Public Health Laboratory, Public Health Laboratory Service Colindale Avenue London NW9 5HT
a2 Gastrointestinal Diseases Division Communicable Disease Surveillance Centre, Public Health Laboratory Service Colindale Avenue London NW9 5HT


Although campylobacter has been the most commonly recognized bacterial cause of gastro-intestinal infection in England and Wales since 1981, there are few reported campylobacter outbreaks. Of the 2374 general outbreaks of infectious intestinal disease reported to CDSC between 1995 and 1999, for which an aetiological agent was identified, campylobacter accounted for only 50 (2%). Foodborne transmission was identified in 35 outbreaks and the majority took place in commercial catering establishments; waterborne transmission was responsible for a further four outbreaks. Isolates of Campylobacter jejuni were referred for typing from 25 outbreaks. In 13 outbreaks all isolates were the same subtype, as defined by serotype and phage type, while in the remainder more than one campylobacter subtype was involved.

(Accepted November 30 2001)

c1 Author for correspondence.