Equis ISSN 2398-2977

Campylobacter spp

Contributor(s): Susan Dawson, Richard Walker




  • Genus: Campylobacter.
  • Family: Spirillaceae.
  • Used to be placed in the genusVibrio


  • Gk:kampulos- curved;bacter- rod.

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Clinical Effects



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


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


  • Feco-oral route.
  • C. Jejuniinfection 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.
  • Venereal forC. fetussubspeciesvenerealis.

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.
  • Important zoonosis.
  • Causes:
    • Diarrhea.
    • Abdominal pain.
    • Fever.
    • Sometimes vomiting in human beings.
  • Toxin production varies withCampylobacterspecies.
  • diseases:
    • Enteritis in many species, including horses.
    • Swine proliferative enteritis.
    • Abortion in sheep and cattle.
    • Hepatitis in poultry.

Other Host Effects

  • Normal intestinal flora in many species, especially poultry, cattle, pigs, dogs and cats.
  • Reproductive tract species:
    • C. fetussubspeciesvenerealisis carried in preputial crypts and vagina, especially cattle.
    • C. fetussubspeciesfetuscarried in intestinal tract of carrier sheep and cattle.
  • C. jejunifrequently causes abortion in sheep and occasionally cattle.


Control via animal

  • Meticulous hygiene and cleaning to prevent spread.

Control via chemotherapies

R. plasmidsencoding resistance to tetracycline occur.

Control via environment

  • Control in veterinary hospitals and kennels 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.


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Further Reading


Refereed papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Blunden A S, Smith K C, Neal H N & Dugdale D J (2006) Enteritis associated with infection by Campylobacter jejuni in two Thoroughbred foals. Equine Vet Educ 18 (1), 8-10.
  • Johnson P J & Goetz T E (1993) Granulomatous enteritis and Campylobacter bacteremia in a horse. JAVMA 203 (7), 1039-1042 PubMed.
  • Browning G F, Chalmers R M, Snodgrass D R et al (1991) The prevalence of enteric pathogens in diarrheic Thoroughbred foals in Britain and Ireland. Equine Vet J 26 (6), 405-409 PubMed.