The genus Campylobacter has been long associated with the cause of veterinary diseases under different names. It is only in the last 30 years that these organisms have been recognized as a major cause of human illness.
Epidemiology: Several species of campylobacters are encountered in animals, birds and man. C. jejuni and C. coli; occasionally C. lari and more recently C. upsaliensis have been found involved in human cases. C. faetus, causes bovine venereal campylobacteriosis. Contaminated water and foods of animal origin, especially unpasteurized milk and improperly processed chicken are implicated as vehicles for the transmission of campylobacteriosis. Campylobacteriosis is also recognized as an occupational disease involving the workers engaged in processing of foods and handling of animals and their products.
Clinical features: The spectrum of disease in case of Campylobacter infection may r ange fr o m mild , self-limiting non-inflammator y d ia rr ho e a to se ve re , inflammatory, bloody diarrhoea with pyrexia, abdominal cramps, bacteraemia and faecal leukocytes. Besides enteritis, other clinical manifestations associated with Campylobacter infection are Guillain Barre Syndrome (GBS), reactive arthritis, haemolytic uraemic syndrome and rarely meningitis in human. Campylobacter can also cause enteritis in several species of domestic animals like dogs, cattle, sheep, pigs, etc. The cases of bovine mastitis and abortion or stillbirth in ewes and cattle were also observed.
Diagnosis: Diagnosis of campylobacteriosis is done by isolation and identification of organisms. The development of both poly and monoclonal antibodies specific for campylobacters has facilitated the development of a number of antibody-based tests like immunodiffusion assay, ELISA and Lectin agglutination. Several nuclear probes have been developed and used for identification of campylobacters. PCR and PCR- ELISA assays can also be used.
Control and prevention: An ideal method to control the campylobacteriosis, is difficult to is the development of Campylobacter free farms. The emphasis should be given to eliminate or at least reduce the cross-contamination between the birds within flock or between the different flocks and animals.