Bovis ISSN 2398-2993

Campylobacter spp

Contributor(s): Vetstream Ltd, Veronica Fowler




  • Genus: campylobacter.
  • Family: spirillaceae.
  • Used to be placed in the genus Vibrio.


  • Gk: kampulos- curved; bacter- rod.
Print off the farmer factsheet on Campylobacter to give to your clients.

Active Forms

This article is available in full to registered subscribers

Sign up now to purchase a 30 day trial, or Login

Clinical Effects



  • Found in animals and their products:
    • Milk.
    • Poultry.
    • Feces.


  • Multiplies in the intestinal tract of the host, and invades epithelial cells.
  • Transfers R. plasmids, which most commmonly carry tetracycline-resistant genes.


  • Feco-oral route Disease transmission.
  • Sexual transmission of C. fetus subsp. venerealis.
  • C. Jejuni infection is an important zoonosis.
    • Human beings and other susceptible species obtain infection from animal sources.
    • Infection of human beings occurs following ingestion of an animal product originally contaminated with infected feces.
    • Most human infections occur following consumption of poorly cooked meat and unpasteurized milk.
    • Handling of animals (especially dogs and cats) may also be a source of human infection.
    • Important zoonosis.
    • Causes the following in humans:
      • Diarrhea.
      • Abdominal pain.
      • Fever.
      • Sometimes vomiting

Pathological effects

  • Circulating antibodies develop during enteritis, but may not be protective.
  • Local antibody immune response results in clearance of uterine infections.
  • Sheep and goats are immune following abortion.
  • Produce an adhesion → adhere to cells of intestinal or reproductive tract.
  • Toxin production varies with Campylobacter species.
  • Diseases:
    • Enteritis in many species.
    • Abortion in sheep and cattle Abortion & Stillbirths.
    • Bovine genital campylobaceriosis.
    • Mastitis.
    • Hepatitis in poultry.

Other Host Effects

  • Normal intestinal flora in many species, especially poultry, cattle, pigs, dogs and cats.
  • Reproductive tract species:
    • C. fetus subsp. venerealisis carried in preputial crypts and vagina, especially cattle.
    • C. fetus subsp. fetus carried in intestinal tract of carrier sheep and cattle.
  • C. jejuni frequently causes abortion in sheep and occasionally cattle.


Control via animal

  • Meticulous hygiene and cleaning to prevent spread.
  • Avoid the use of carrier bulls.

Control via chemotherapies

Control via environment

  • Control in veterinary hospitals is carried out by strict adherence to hygiene procedures including:
    • Hand-washing.
    • Cleaning and disinfection of equipment.
    • Human infections may be prevented by hygienic practices and thorough cooking of food.


  • Vaccines do exist for problem herds.


This article is available in full to registered subscribers

Sign up now to purchase a 30 day trial, or Login

Further Reading


Refereed papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Michi A N, Favetto P H, Kastelic J & Cobo E R (2016) A review of sexually transmitted bovine trichomoniasis and campylobacteriosis affecting cattle reproductive health. Theriogenology 85 (5), 781-91 PubMed.
  • Christidis T, Pintar K D, Butler A , Nesbitt A, Thomas M K, Marshall B & Pollari F (2016) Campylobacter spp. Prevalence and Levels in Raw Milk: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. J Food Prot 79 (10), 1775-1783 PubMed.
  • Sprenger H, Zechner E L & Gorkiewicz G (2012) So close and yet so far - Molecular Microbiology of Campylobacter fetus subspecies. Eur J Microbiol Immunol (Bp) 2 (1), 66-75 PubMed.
  • Kienesberger S, Gorkiewicz G, Wolinski H & Zechner E L (2011) New molecular microbiology approaches in the study of Campylobacter fetus. Microb Biotechnol 4 (1), 8-19 PubMed.
  • Mshelia G D, Amin J D, Woldehiwet Z, Murray R D & Egwu G O (2010) Epidemiology of bovine
    venereal campylobacteriosis: geographic distribution and recent advances in molecular diagnostic techniques.
    Reprod Domest Anim 45 (5), 221-30 PubMed.
  • Hoffer M A (1981) Bovine campylobacteriosis: a review. Can Vet J 22 (11), 327-30 PubMed.