Chapter 11: Campylobacter spp.
Campylobacter is considered by many to be the leading cause of enteric illness in the United States (Nachamkin et al., 1992; Tauxe et al., 1988). Campylobacter species can cause mild to severe diarrhea, with loose, watery stools often followed by bloody diarrhea (Butzler, 1984; Nachamkin et al., 1992). C. jejuni, C. coli, and C. lari account for more than 99% of the human isolates (C. jejuni 90%). Other species have been associated with human illness in recent years (Butzler, 1984; Klein et al., 1986; Linton et al., 1996; Patton et al., 1989; Tauxe et al., 1988; Tee et al., 1987).
Campylobacter species are highly infective. The infective dose of C. jejuni ranges from 500 to 10,000 cells, depending on the strain, damage to cells from environmental stresses, and the susceptibility of the host (Black et al., 1988; Blaser et al., 1986; Butzler, 1984; Nachamkin et al., 1992; Tee et al., 1987). Only the mesophilic C. fetus is normally invasive. Thermophilic species (optimum 42°C) such as C. jejuni are occasionally invasive. The infections are manifested as meningitis, pneumonia, miscarriage, and a severe form of Guillain-Barré syndrome (Blaser et al., 1986; Nachamkin et al., 1992). Thermotolerant strains of C. fetus that grow at 42°C have been isolated from patients (Klein et al., 1986).
Campylobacters are carried in the intestinal tract of a wide variety of wild and domestic animals, especially birds. They can establish a temporary asymptomatic carrier state, as well as illness, in humans. This is especially prevalent in developing countries (Nachamkin et al., 1992). Consumption of food and water contaminated with untreated animal or human waste accounts for 70% of Campylobacter-related illnesses each year. The foods include unpasteurized milk, meats, poultry, shellfish, fruits, and vegetables, (Abeyta and Kaysner, 1987; Abeyta, 1998; Castillo and Escartin, 1994; Clark and Bueschkens, 1986; Doyle and Schoeni, 1986; Fricker and Park, 1989; Klein et al., 1986; Mathewson et al., 1983; Nachamkin et al., 1992; Park and Sanders, 1992; Stern and Bolton, 1994; Tauxe et al., 1988).
C. jejuni can survive 2-4 weeks under moist, reduced-oxygen conditions at 4°C, often outlasting the shelf life of the product (except in raw milk products). They can also survive 2-5 months at -20°C, but only a few days at room temperature (Blaser et al., 1980; Castillo and Escartin, 1994; Clark and Bueschkens, 1986; Doyle and Schoeni, 1986; Fricker and Park, 1989; Nachamkin et al., 1992). Environmental stresses, such as exposure to air, drying, low pH, heating, freezing, and prolonged storage, damage cells and hinder recovery to a greater degree than for most bacteria. Older and stressed organisms gradually become coccoidal and increasingly difficult to culture (Blaser et al., 1980; Nachamkin et al., 1992). Oxygen quenching agents in media such as haemin and charcoal as well as a microaerobic atmosphere and preenrichment can significantly improve recovery (Bark et al., 1996; Humphrey, 1986; Hunt et al., 1985; Hutchinson and Bolton, 1984; Park and Sanders, 1989; Stern and Bolton, 1994; Tran and Yin, 1997).
Campylobacters are microaerophilic, very small, curved, thin, Gram-negative rods (1.5-5 µm), with corkscrew motility. They often join to form zigzag shapes (Nachamkin et al., 1992; Smibert, 1984). Campylobacter spp. are currently identified by tests described by Harvey (1980) and Barret et al.(1988). PCR genus and species identification methods have been published (Harmon et al., 1997; Linton et al., 1996; Winters and Slavik, 1995).
For additional information contact Jan Hunt or Carlos Abeyta, FDA, P.O. Box 3012, Bothell, WA 98041-3012. Phone numbers: (425) 402-3171 (Hunt) or 483-4870 (Abeyta); e-mail: email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org. Tony Tran can be contacted at CFSAN, 200 C St., SW, Washington, DC 20204; phone no. is (202) 205-5253 and the e-mail address is TTT@cfsan.fda.gov.
Abeyta, C. and C.A. Kaysner. 1987. Incidence and survival of thermophilic campylobacters from shellfish growing waters: Media evaluation. International workshop on Campylobacter, Helicobacter, and related organism. Abstract, p. 11.
Abeyta, C. 1998. Molluscan shellfish: In Microbiology Handbook No. 3, Fish and Seafood. R.A. Lawley and P. Giibbs (Ed.). p. 67-99. Letterhead Food RA, Randalls Road, Letterhead, Surrey, England.
Andrews, W.H., and June, G.A. 1998. Food sampling and preparation of sample homogenate, Ch. 1. In Food and Drug Administration Bacteriological Analytical Manual, 8th ed. (revision A), (CD-ROM version). R.L. Merker (Ed.). AOAC International, Gaithersburg, MD.
Bark, D., B. Jay, C.A. Abeyta, Jr. 1996. Enhancement of recovery by removal of blood from the standard campylobacter protocol. IAMFES 83rd annual meeting. Poster #58.
Barrett, T.J., C.M. Patton and G.K. Morris. 1988. Differentiation of Campylobacter species using phenotypic characterization. Lab. Med. 19:96-102.
Black, R.E., M.M. Levine, M.L. Clements, T.P. Hughes and M.J. Blaser. 1988. Experimental Campylobacter jejuni infection in humans. J. Infect. Dis. 157:472-479.
Blaser, M.J., H.L. Hardesty, B. Powers and W.L. Wang. 1980. Survival of Campylobacter fetus subsp. jejuni in biological milieus. J. Clin. Microbiol. 27:309-313.
Blaser, M.J., G.P. Perez, P.F. Smith, C.M. Patton, F.C. Tenover, A.J. Lastovica and W.L. Wang. 1986. Extra intestinal Campylobacter jejuni and Campylobacter coli infections: host factors and strain characteristics. J. Infect. Dis. 153:552-559.
Butzler, J.P. 1984. Campylobacter Infection in Man and Animals. CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL.
Castillo, A. and E.F. Escartin. 1994. Survival of Campylobacter jejuni on sliced watermelon and papaya. J. Food Prot. 57:166-168.
Clark, A.G. and D.H. Bueschkens. 1986. Survival and growth of Campylobacter jejuni in egg yolk and albumen. J. Food Prot. 49:135-141.
Doyle, M.P. and Roman, D.J. 1981. Growth and survival of Campylobacter fetus subsp. jejuni as a function of temperature and pH. J. Food Protect. 44(8):596-601.
Doyle, M.P. and J.L. Schoeni. 1986. Isolation of Campylobacter jejuni from retail mushrooms. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 51:449-450.
FDA. 1998. Bacterial pathogen growth. Appendix 4. In Fish and Fishery Products Hazards and Controls Guide, 2nd ed., p. 241-244. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Food and Drug Administration, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, Office of Seafood, Washington, DC.
Fricker, C.R. and R.W.A. Park. 1989. A two year study of the distribution of thermophilic campylobacters in human, environmental and food samples from the Reading area with particular reference to toxin production and heat-stable serotype. J. Appl. Bacteriol. 66:477-490.
Harmon, K., G. Ransom and I. Wesley. 1997. Differentiation of Campylobacter jejuni and C. coli by multiplex polymerase chain reaction. To be published.
Harvey, S.M. 1980. Hippurate hydrolysis by Campylobacter fetus. J. Clin. Microbiol. 11:435-437.
Humphrey, T.J. 1986. Injury and recovery in freeze- or heat-damaged Campylobacter jejuni. Lett. Appl. Microbiol. 3:81-84.
Hunt, J.M., D.W. Francis, J.T. Peeler and J. Lovett. 1985. Comparison of methods for isolating Campylobacter jejuni from raw milk. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 50:535-536.
Hunt, J.M., Abeyta, C., and Tran, T. 1998. Campylobacter. Ch. 7, In Food and Drug Administration Bacteriological Analytical Manual, 8th ed. (revision A), (CD-ROM version). R.L. Merker (Ed.). AOAC International, Gaithersburg, MD.
Hutchinson, D.N. and F.J. Bolton. 1984. Improved blood free medium for the isolation of Campylobacter jejuni from faecal specimens. J. Clin. Pathol. 37:956-957.
Klein, B.S., J.M. Vergeront, M.J. Blazer, P. Edmonds, D.J. Brenner, D. Janssen and J.P. Davis. 1986. Campylobacter infection associated with raw milk. JAMA. 225:361-364.
Koidis, P. and Doyle, M.P. 1983. Survival of Campylobacter jejuni in fresh and heated red meat. J. Food Protect. 46(9):771-774.
Linton, D., R.J. Owen and J. Stanley. 1996. Rapid identification by PCR of the genus Campylobacter and of five Campylobacter species enteropathogenic for man and animals. Res. Microbiol. 147:707-718.
Mathewson, J.J., B.H. Keswick and H.L. DuPont. 1983. Evaluation of filters for recovery of Campylobacter jejuni from water. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 46:985-987.
Nachamkin, I., M.J. Blaser and L.S. Tompkins, eds. 1992. Campylobacter jejuni current status and future trends. American Society for Microbiology, Washington D.C.
Park, C.E. and J.W. Sanders. 1989. Sensitive enrichment procedure for the isolation of Campylobacter jejuni from frozen foods. Vth international workshop on Campylobacter infections. Abstract #79.
Park, C.E. and G.W. Sanders. 1992. Occurrence of thermotolerant campylobacters in fresh vegetables sold at farmers' outdoor markets and supermarkets. Can. J. Microbiol. 38:313-316.
Patton, D.M., N. Shaffer, P. Edmonds, T.J. Barrett, M.A. Lampert, C. Baker, D.M. Perlman and D. Brenner. 1989. Human disease associated with "Campylobacter upsaliensis" (catalase-negative or weakly positive Campylobacter species) in the United States. J. Clin. Microbiol. 27:66-73.
Reed, G.H. 1994. Foodborne illness (Part 5): Foodborne campylobacteriosis. Dairy, Food and Environmental San. 14(3):161-162.
Smibert, R.M. 1984. Genus II. Campylobacter. In Bergey's Manual of Determinative Bacteriology, Vol. 1, N.R. Kreig and J.G. Holt (Eds). p. 111-118. Williams & Wilkins, Baltimore.
Stern, N. and E. Bolton. 1994. improved enrichment recovery of Campylobacter spp. from broiler chicken carcasses. IAMFIS 81st annual meeting. Abstract #29.
Tauxe, R.V., N. Hargrett-Bean, C.M. Patton and I.K. Wachsmuth. 1988. Campylobacter isolates in the United States, 1982-1986. Morbid. Mortal. Weekly Rep. 37:1-13.
Tee, W., B.N. Anderson, B.C. Ross and B. Dwyer. 1987. Atypical campylobacters associated with gastroenteritis. J. Clin. Microbiol. 25:1248-1254.
T.T. Tran and J.J. Yin. 1997. A modified anaerogen system for growth of Campylobacter spp. J. of Rapid and Automation in Microbiology. 5:139-149.
Ward, D., Bernard, D., Collette, R., Kraemer, D., Hart, K., Price, R., and Otwell, S. (Eds.) 1997. Hazards found in seafoods, Appendix III. In HACCP: Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point Training Curriculum, 2nd ed., p. 173-188. UNC-SG-96-02. North Carolina Sea Grant, Raleigh, NC.
Wesley, R.D. and J. Bryner. 1989. Re-examination of Campylobacter hyointestinalis and C. fetus. International workshop on Campylobacter infections. Abstract, p. 122.
Winters, D.K. and M.F. Slavik. 1995. Evaluation of a PCR based assay for specific detection of Campylobacter jejuni in chicken washes. Mol. and Cell. Probes. 9:307-310
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