Campylobacter is the name of a group of bacteria commonly found in raw poultry such as turkey, chicken, as well as in other raw meats, untreated water and unpasteurised milk. Also found occasionally in shellfish and mushrooms, this bacteria is the most commonly known cause of food poisoning in the UK.
Cats, dogs, other pets and farm animals can also pass campylobacter bacteria infections on to humans. Many cases of campylobacter infection have, for instance, been developed after visits to farms. Animals infected with the bacteria rarely show any symptoms.
Who is likely to be infected
Campylobacter may affect any person of any age. It is, however, more common among certain groups of individuals, including:
- Children under five years of age
- Adults exceeding the age of 60
- People working with animals on farms
- People working within the meat industry
- People visiting developing countries with less strict food hygiene and sanitation
As a rule, symptoms of campylobacter bacteria infection develop within two to five days after consuming contaminated food or handling contaminated animals. Occasionally, the incubation period may last as long as up to ten days.
The typically fairly mild symptoms of food poisoning caused by these bacteria include nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea, which may occasionally contain traces of blood. Cramp-like stomach pains and fever may also be experienced. 90 per cent of sufferers will recover within a week. In severe cases, complications may occur. These could include dehydration, drowsiness and/or confusion; severe abdominal pain, and very high fever.
Generally, trying to eat as normal as possible and taking in plenty of fluid is sufficient to combat this infection. In severe cases, however, it is recommended to seek medical assistance. This also applies to children younger than six months and both adults and children with:
- Underlying medical conditions, premature birth or history thereof diabetes, kidney or heart conditions
- Weakened immune systems, such as after long-term steroid or chemotherapy treatments, or HIV infections for example
It is also best to seek medical advice for infections caught abroad in order to rule out other, potentially more dangerous infections.
Like slips, trips and falls, food poisoning via this bacterium can be prevented. If you become ill after dining out or while on holiday because the necessary precautions to prevent outbreaks were not taken, you may be entitled to personal injury compensation.
Learn more about claiming for compensation by making a no-obligation Freephone call to Accident Advice Helpline on 0800 689 0500.
Date Published: April 27, 2015
Author: Accident Advice