Epidemiology and Infection

The seasonality of human campylobacter infection and Campylobacter isolates from fresh, retail chicken in Wales

R. J. MELDRUM a1c1, J. K. GRIFFITHS a2, R. M. M. SMITH a3 and M. R. EVANS a2a3
a1 National Public Health Service for Wales, Cardiff, UK
a2 Department of Epidemiology, Statistics and Public Health, University of Wales College of Medicine, Cardiff, UK
a3 National Public Health Service for Wales, Communicable Disease Surveillance Centre, Cardiff, UK

Article author query
meldrum rj   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
griffiths jk   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
smith rm   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
evans mr   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 


Seasonal peaks in both human campylobacter infections and poultry isolates have been observed in several European countries but remain unexplained. We compared weekly data on human campylobacter infections with thermophilic Campylobacter isolation rates from fresh, retail chicken samples (n=514) purchased weekly in Wales between January and December 2002. Human isolates (n=2631) peaked between weeks 22 and 25 (early June) and chicken isolates (n=364) between weeks 24 and 26 (late June). In the absence of a temporal association, we postulate that the seasonal rise in humans is not caused by a rise in isolation rates in poultry but that both are more likely to be associated with a common, but as yet unidentified, environmental source.

(Accepted September 2 2004)

c1 Dr R. J. Meldrum, National Public Health Service for Wales, Llandough Hospital, Penarth, CF64 2XX, UK. (Email: Richard.Meldrum@nphs.wales.nhs.uk)