a1 OzFoodNet (Queensland), Communicable Diseases Unit, Queensland Health, Brisbane, Australia
a2 School of Population Health, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia
a3 Faculty of Health and Environmental Sciences, Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand
a4 OzFoodNet, Office of Health Protection, Department of Health and Ageing, Canberra, Australia
a5 Health Policy, Planning and Resources, Queensland Health, Brisbane, Australia
a6 OzFoodNet, Hunter New England Population Health, Wallsend, New South Wales, Australia
a7 OzFoodNet (Tasmania), Public and Environmental Health Service, Department of Health and Human Services, Hobart, Australia
a8 OzFoodNet (Victoria), Communicable Disease Control Section, Victorian Department of Human Services, Melbourne, Australia
There are an estimated 277 000 cases of campylobacteriosis in Australia each year, most of which are thought to be sporadically acquired. To explore causes for these infections, we conducted a multi-centre case-control study of patients and community controls across five Australian States during 2001–2002. A total of 881 campylobacter cases and 833 controls aged 5 years were recruited into the study. Crude logistic analyses were conducted within various food and non-food exposure groups. A final most parsimonious multivariable logistic regression model was developed and adjusted odds ratios (aOR), 95% confidence intervals (95% CI) were derived together with adjusted population attributable risks (PAR). Consumption of undercooked chicken (aOR 4·7, 95% CI 2·6–8·4) and offal (aOR 2·0, 95% CI 1·0–4·0), ownership of domestic chickens aged <6 months (aOR 12·4, 95% CI 2·6–59·3) and domestic dogs aged <6 months (aOR 2·1, 95% CI 1·1–4·2) were found to be independent risk factors for illness in the final model. The PAR proportions indicate that eating chicken meat, either cooked or undercooked may account for approximately 30% of campylobacter cases that occur each year in Australia. These results justify the continued need for education of consumers and foodhandlers about the risks associated with the handling of raw chicken and the potential for cross-contamination.
(Accepted October 04 2006)
(Online publication November 30 2006)
† Members of the OzFoodNet Working Group are given in the Appendix.