ISSN 2398-2950      

Campylobacter jejuni


Richard Walker

Synonym(s): C. jejuni




  • Family: Spirillaceae.
  • Genus: Campylobacter.
  • Used to be placed in the genus Vibrio.
  • Species: jejuni.


  • Greek: campylo - curved; bacter - rod; jejuni - of the jejunum.

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Clinical Effects



  • Found in animals and their products:
    • Milk.
    • Poultry.
    • Feces of dogs and cats.


  • Multiplies in the intestinal tract of the host and invades epithelial cells.
  • Transfers R. plasmids, which most commmonly carry tetracycline resistant genes.


  • Feco-oral route.
  • C. Jejuni infection is an important zoonosis.
  • Human beings and other susceptible species obtain infection from animal sources.
  • Infection of human beings occurs following ingestion of an animal product originally contaminated with infected feces.
  • Most human infections occur following consumption of poorly-cooked meat and unpasteurized milk.
  • Handling of animals (especially dogs and cats), may also be a source of human infection.

Control of infection in cattery

  • Use similar precautions when managing campylobacter infection as you would for parvovirus Feline panleucopenia virus disease:
    • Disinfectant/bleach footbaths at entrance to room.
    • Always wear protective clothing to prevent contamination and zoonotic transmission.
    • After handling case wash and spray whands with diluted bleach before handling next animal.
    • Use bleach solutions to clean cages and bedding.

Pathological effects

  • Produces an adhesin.
  • Produces a heat-labile enterotoxin and a cytotoxin but exact method of pathogenesis unknown.
  • Important zoonosis.
  • Causes:
    • Diarrhea.
    • Abdominal pain.
    • Fever.
    • Sometimes vomiting in human beings.

Other Host Effects

  • Normal intestinal flora.


Control via animal

  • Keep infected animals isolated.
  • Meticulous hygiene and cleaning to prevent spread.

Control via chemotherapies

  • Treat all in contact animals at the same time.
  • Enrofloxacin Enrofloxacin for 10 - 14 days.
    Always perform anaerobic culture from rectal swab (not diarrhea).
  • Erythromycin (40 mg/kg divided TID for 5 days) Erythromycin and tetracycline Tetracycline are used.
    R. plasmids encoding resistance to tetracycline occurs.

Enrofloxacin only effective in 60% cases.

  • Continue treatment until rectal swabs culture negative.

Control via environment

  • Control in veterinary hospitals and kennels is carried out by strict adherence to hygiene procedures including:
    • Hand-washing.
    • Cleaning and disinfection of equipment.
    • Human infections may be prevented by hygienic practices and thorough cooking of food.


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Further Reading


Refereed papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Acke E, McGill K, Golden O et al (2009) Prevalence of thermophilic Campylobacter species in household cats and dogs in Ireland. Vet Rec 164 (2), 44-47 PubMed.
  • [No authors listed] (1998) Campylobacter infection. JSAP 39 (2), 99-100 PubMed.
  • Lister S A (1997) Raw meat poses risks to pets and owners. JAVMA 211 (6), 698 PubMed.
  • Fernández H, Trabulsi L R (1995) Invasive and enterotoxic properties in Campylobacter jejuni and Campylobacter coli strains isolated from humans and animals. Biol Res 28 (3), 205-210 PubMed.
  • Altekruse S F, Hunt J M, Tollefson L K et al (1994) Food and animal sources of human Campylobacter jejuni infection. JAVMA 204 (1), 57-61 PubMed.
  • Dillon A R, Boosinger T R, Blevins W T (1987) Campylobacter enteritis in dogs and cats. Vet Rec (12), 1176-1183 VetMedResource.

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