Home > Practice Areas > Foodborne Illness > Are You a Victim of Food Poisoning? > Campylobacteriosis


Campylobacteriosis is caused by bacteria called Campylobacter. Three of the bacteria, C. jejuni, C. Fetus and C. coli, are types that usually cause disease. C. jejuni causes most cases of Campylobacteriosis. C. jejuni is commonly associated with chickens. It is the leading cause of bacterial diarrheal in the United States, affecting about 2.4 million people every year. The bacterium also causes 5 to 14% of all diarrheal illness worldwide. C. Jejuni primarily affects children less than five years old and young adults 15 to 25 years old.

Transmission of Campylobacteriosis occurs from handling raw poultry, eating undercooked poultry, drinking unchlorinated water or raw milk, or handling infected or animal feces. Poultry and cattle waste are the source of the bacteria or feces from puppies, kittens or birds also may be contaminated with the bacteria. Symptoms include diarrhea, often bloody, abdominal cramping and pain, fever, and fatigue. Campylobacteriosis usually lasts two to five days, but in some cases lasts up to ten days. Complications include convulsions with fever and meningitis, which is the inflammation of the lining of the spinal cord. Some people also develop Reiter’s Syndrome. A small number of people may develop Guillain-Barre’ Syndrome (GBS) which is the leading cause of acute paralysis.