Epidemiology and Infection

Original Papers


A population-based exposure assessment of risk factors associated with gastrointestinal pathogens: a Campylobacter study

L. A. MacRITCHIEa1 c1, C. J. HUNTERa2 and N. J. C. STRACHANa1

a1 Institute of Biological and Environmental Sciences, School of Biological Sciences, Cruickshank Building, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, UK

a2 School of Geography & Geosciences, University of St Andrews, Irvine Building, St Andrews, UK


A questionnaire survey was undertaken to determine the exposure of a study population to campylobacteriosis source risk factors (environmental, water, food) and results were stratified by age, population density and deprivation. Data were gathered using an exposure assessment carried out by telephone in the Grampian region of Scotland. Univariate analysis showed that children aged 5–14 years, living in low population density (0–44·4 persons/km2) and affluent areas had elevated exposure to environmental and water risk factors. Multivariate logistic regression analysis revealed that younger age groups and lower population density were significant indicators for most environmental risk factors. The results compared to reported disease incidence in Grampian showed that greater exposure to risk factors does not necessarily coincide with greater disease incidence for age groups, particularly for the 0–4 years age group. Further research is required to explain the relationship between exposure and disease incidence.

(Received September 27 2011)

(Revised May 01 2012)

(Accepted July 11 2012)

(Online publication August 09 2012)

Key words

  • Campylobacter ;
  • epidemiology;
  • gastroenteritis


c1 Author for correspondence: Miss L. A. MacRitchie, School of Biological Sciences, Cruickshank Building, St Machar Drive, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, AB24 3UU, UK. (Email: laura.macritchie@abdn.ac.uk)