Campylobacter infection or better known as Campylobacteriosis among medical practitioners is a bacterial infection of the digestive tract. In fact, it is the most common bacterial infection among humans.
The pathogen is generally carried by animals like cattle, swine, birds, cats and dogs. Interestingly, the campylobacter bacteria are non-pathogenic in the body of the animal but once it is transmitted to the intestinal tract of a human, it causes campylobacteriosis. The symptoms of the disease is caused by the bacteria C. Jejuni. Under the microscope, the curved and twisted shapes of the C. jejuni bacteria shows up as corkscrew like structures. The disease may even be caused by the C. coli class of bacteria.
The symptoms generally associated with campylobacteriosis are extremely irritable bowel movements frequently involving bloody discharge. The bowel contractions are painful and the intestinal tract is perceived to be ruptured and tissue injury is prevalent in the gut. The campylobacter bacteria are transmitted by rotten food and contaminated water, apart from direct contact such as fluid exchange through sexual intercourse or used syringes. Since the bacteria reside in animals, it is extremely important to handle animals with all the necessary precautions for effective prevention of the disease.
Fever and headache are often associated symptoms along with an extreme case of diarrhea or dysentery. The symptoms usually take a couple of days to develop and they last for a couple of days to ten days at the most.
The most common method of diagnosis is by stool culture but other methods such as a Gram stain of a stool sample is often carried out as alternative methods.
The treatment of campylobacteriosis depends upon the extent of the infection and the stage of the disease. In most cases, fluid replacement in the body is enough to reduce effects of the infection. Although antibiotic treatment for campylobacteriosis is a much debated upon issue, some doctors do advice for antibiotics for children as well as adults.