Epidemiology and Infection

Original Papers

Gastroenteritis

Common source outbreaks of Campylobacter infection in the USA, 1997–2008

E. V. TAYLORa1 c1, K. M. HERMANa2, E. C. AILESa3, C. FITZGERALDa2, J. S. YODERa2, B. E. MAHONa2 and R. V. TAUXEa2

a1 Epidemic Intelligence Service assigned to the Enteric Diseases Epidemiology Branch, Division of Foodborne, Waterborne, and Environmental Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA, USA

a2 Division of Foodborne, Waterborne, and Environmental Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA, USA

a3 IHRC Inc., contractor at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA, USA

SUMMARY

Campylobacter is a common but decreasing cause of foodborne infections in the USA. Outbreaks are uncommon and have historically differed from sporadic cases in seasonality and contamination source. We reviewed reported outbreaks of campylobacteriosis. From 1997 to 2008, 262 outbreaks were reported, with 9135 illnesses, 159 hospitalizations, and three deaths. The annual mean was 16 outbreaks for 1997–2002, and 28 outbreaks for 2003–2008. Almost half occurred in warmer months. Foodborne transmission was reported in 225 (86%) outbreaks, water in 24 (9%), and animal contact in seven (3%). Dairy products were implicated in 65 (29%) foodborne outbreaks, poultry in 25 (11%), and produce in 12 (5%). Reported outbreaks increased during a period of declining overall incidence, and seasonality of outbreaks resembled that of sporadic infections. Unlike sporadic illnesses, which are primarily attributed to poultry, dairy products are the most common vehicle identified for outbreaks.

(Received April 05 2012)

(Revised June 14 2012)

(Accepted July 18 2012)

(Online publication August 15 2012)

Key words

  • Bacterial infections;
  • Campylobacter ;
  • epidemiology;
  • foodborne infections;
  • outbreaks

Correspondence

c1 Author for correspondence: Dr E. V. Taylor, Enteric Diseases Epidemiology Branch, Division of Foodborne, Waterborne, and Environmental Diseases, 1600 Clifton Rd. NE, MS C-09, Atlanta, GA 30333, USA. (Email: idp4@cdc.gov)

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