Research Article| Volume 47, ISSUE 1, P28-32, July 2003

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Campylobacter coli—an important foodborne pathogen


      Objectives: Campylobacters are the most common bacterial cause of infectious intestinal disease (IID) in temperate countries. C. jejuni is the predominant cause of campylobacter IID, but the impact of other, less prevalent species has largely been ignored. Here, we present estimates of the burden of indigenously acquired foodborne disease (IFD) due to Campylobacter coli, the second most common cause of human campylobacteriosis. Methods: Data from surveillance sources and specific epidemiologic studies were used to calculate the number of illnesses, presentations to general practice (GP), hospital admissions, hospital occupancy and deaths due to indigenous foodborne C. coli IID in England and Wales for the year 2000. Results: We estimate that in the year 2000, C. coli accounted for over 25,000 cases of IFD. This organism was responsible for more than 12,000 presentations to GP, 1000 hospital admissions, nearly 4000 bed days of hospital occupancy and 11 deaths. The cost to patients and the National Health Service was estimated at nearly £4 million. Conclusions: Although C. coli comprises a minority of human campylobacter disease, its health burden is considerable and greater than previously thought. Targeted research on this organism is required for its successful control.


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