What are the symptoms of campylobacter infection?
Diarrhea can be bloody and accompanied by stomach pains, fever, nausea, and vomiting. These symptoms typically appear within 3 to 5 days of contact with the bacteria and usually last between 1 and 4 days. However, more serious episodes can last as long as 10 days.
How is a campylobacter infection spread?
Campylobacter bacteria are found in animals and birds including fowl, cattle, swine, sheep, cats, dogs, and rodents. The bacteria are commonly spread through direct contact with animals, especially puppies, kittens, and fowl. Drinking unpasteurized milk (raw), contaminated water, or eating under-cooked poultry or meats are other likely ways people are infected. Certain conditions make it easy for the bacteria to grow. One of the most common is storing potentially hazardous foods at warm (room) temperatures. It is best to keep foods out of the “Danger Zone”, that is temperatures between 4°C and 60°C.
How is campylobacter infection treated?
Most people recover on their own without treatment. Preventing dehydration is the most important step to recovery. Drink plenty of fluids and be aware of signs of dehydration.
Signs of dehydration include:
- dry lips and mouth
- dark coloured urine with a foul smell
- lack of energy
- flushed skin
- increased heart rate
How is campylobacter infection prevented?
- Thorough handwashing is the best prevention. Make sure hands are properly washed after using the toilet, handling pets, or preparing food.
- Clean and sanitize counter tops and utensils immediately after the preparation of foods, particularly meats and poultry.
- If possible, have separate cutting boards for raw and cooked meats.
- Drink only pasteurized milk.
- Make sure dairy products, meats and poultry are properly refrigerated at 4°C or lower.
- Cook poultry and meats thoroughly.
- Drink water from a safe water supply.
- Avoid preparing or handling food if you are ill with diarrhea.