CAMPYLOBACTER JEJUNI: A BACTERIAL PARADOX

Authors


1 To whom all correspondence should be addressed. Tel: 302/831–8772; Fax: 302/831–2822; E-mail: dgh@udel.edu

ABSTRACT

Campylobacter jejuni has become recognized worldwide as a leading cause of diarrheal disease and foodborne gastroenteritis. Contaminated water, raw milk, and poultry appear to be the most common vehicles of transmission of C. jejuni in humans. It is estimated that C. jejuni causes between one to seven million cases of enteritis per year in the United States, resulting in 100 to 500 deaths. Although some people believe C. jejuni causes more cases of food poisoning than any other single agent, C. jejuni has been demonstrated to be extremely susceptible to a wide variety of antimicrobial treatments, food processing methods, and environmental stresses, in addition to being difficult to culture and maintain in the laboratory. The focus of this paper is to overview the current status of C. jejuni, its epidemiological aspects, the fundamentals of its virulent capabilities, as well as to address the paradox that presents itself: How can an organism of such limited hardiness and growth capabilities be responsible for an ever-increasing level of human foodborne disease?

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