STRUCTURE AND PHYSIOLOGY
Campylobacter comes from the Greek word meaning “curved rod”. Campylobacter jejuni is a helical-shaped, non-spore-forming, Gram-negative, nonfermenting motile bacteria with a single flagellum at one or both sides. C. jejuni is microaerophilic and can survive on low amounts of oxygen. When it is exposed to atmospheric oxygen, it can change into a coccal form. C. jejuni produces a number of enterotoxins and uses its highly motile shape to penetrate the lining of the gastrointestinal tract. C. jejuni flagella are not only a major contributor to its virulence, but they also play a significant role in the microorganism’s ability to produce a biofilm.
TRANSMISSION AND DISEASE
Although C. jejuni can cause diseases in human this microorganism’s main reservoir is in animal feces, specifically poultry. This bacterium is one of the most common causes of food poisoning in Europe and the United States. The CDC estimates a total of 1.5 million infections every year are caused by Campylobacters. Infections from C. jejuni can lead to chronic conditions such as Guillain–Barré syndrome and reactive arthritis. Most C. jejuni infections are limited to about 7 days of gastrointestinal pain and distress, but typically clear up without medical intervention.
Since C. jejuni is such a major cause of foodborne illness, the proper disinfection of surfaces and hands when handling raw meat is essential.
Two strains of C. jejuni are referenced as required microorganisms on the FDA’s 2016 Consumer Antiseptic Rub proposed rule (81 FR 42912 at 42921).
Campylobacter: Questions and Answers”. U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2019-12-20. Retrieved 2020-01-02.
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“Campylobacter jejuni | Campylobacter Food Poisoning”. www.about-campylobacter.com. Retrieved 2016-04-18.