Campylobacter

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Campylobacter is a very common form of gastro-enteritis. It is more common than salmonella and is one of the main diseases people catch when travelling.

Campylobacter is commonly caught from:

  • handling raw meat, especially poultry
  • drinking untreated water or milk
  • eating undercooked meat or poultry
  • direct contact with animals
  • close contact with another infected person
  • milk bottles pecked open by birds

The illness usually occurs within 2–10 days of infection but it can be up to 14 days before the symptoms appear.

  • fever and/or a feeling of being generally unwell
  • abdominal pains
  • After 2–3 days diarrhoea starts (some people might see blood and mucus). This lasts around 2–3 days.
  • Colicky abdominal pains may last for a further 10–14 days.
  • Vomiting is rare in adults but may happen in children.
  • Wash hands thoroughly after going to the toilet and before preparing meals or eating
  • Young children with the infection should have their hands washed for them or be supervised
  • Disinfect all areas in the toilet daily (including door handles) 
  • Infected people should stay away from work until they have been free of symptoms of diarrhoea and vomiting for at least 48 hours
  • If the infected person is in a high risk group e.g. is a food handler, nursery worker, nurse or carer for the elderly etc. they cannot return to work until they have been completely recovered for 48 hours. Sometimes clear faecal specimens (negative results) are required. Also, it may be necessary to temporarily exclude infected children from playgroups, nurseries, childminders or schools. An Officer from the department will inform you if exclusion is necessary and when you are able to resume activities
  • Your GP will be able to give you advice on treatment.
  • You should tell your place of work or in the case of children, the head teacher of the school to find out if exclusion is necessary and when you can return.

If you report your infection, the council’s investigating officer will give you a more general leaflet on infection control.

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