What is Campylobacter Infection?
Undercooked poultry items like chicken and eggs often results in bacteria infiltrating the body called Campylobacter. Campylobacter is quite a common infection and causes diarrhea and vomiting. In some cases it may also result in some serious complications if the infection is not treated on time. Infants and children are more at risk for developing Campylobacter Infection than adults. This infection is seen more in males than females. Campylobacter Infection flourishes more in the summer months and is very rarely seen in winters. Studies suggest that approximately 1.5 million registered cases of Campylobacter Infection are treated every year in the United States alone and the number goes up if undiagnosed cases are counted.
What are the Causes of Campylobacter Infection?
Campylobacter bacteria can get into the body by eating undercooked or uncooked poultry items especially chicken. Drinking unpasteurized milk also is one of the reasons for developing Campylobacter Infection. The bacteria thrive in the digestive system of animals normally chicken and when eaten in the raw or undercooked form results in the bacteria entering the body of humans. Once the bacteria enter the body it may take a couple of days for the symptoms to start. Cases of Campylobacter Infection are normally isolated but sometimes there can be an outbreak of the infection. In countries in the African or South American continent, Campylobacter bacteria can infect humans through contaminated water as well.
What are the Symptoms of Campylobacter Infection?
The symptoms of Campylobacter Infection start a couple of days after the ingestion of undercooked poultry items. The patient will first experience diarrhea. Sometimes there may be blood in the stools. Vomiting follows the diarrhea. The other symptoms that the patient may experience are abdominal cramps, bloating, and fever. If an individual with a weak immune system gets Campylobacter infection then prompt treatment is needed since it may lead to potential serious complications, especially infants and elderly people.
How is Campylobacter Infection Diagnosed?
To diagnose Campylobacter Infection, the patient will have to explain all the symptoms to the doctor. Based on the symptoms, the doctor will order a stool test. A detailed laboratory analysis of the stool will lead to observation of Campylobacter bacterium. This will confirm the diagnosis.
How is Campylobacter Infection Treated?
The Campylobacter infection does not always require treatment and fades away on its own after about a week. While the patient is suffering from Campylobacter infection, it is recommended to drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration arising out of diarrhea. It is also recommended that no medications should be taken outside of what the doctor has advised to stop the diarrhea or vomiting. Medications are normally prescribed for infants or elderly people who have compromised immune system. The medications prescribed for treating Campylobacter Infection are levofloxacin, azithromycin, and ciprofloxacin.
How to Prevent Campylobacter Infection?
The best way to prevent Campylobacter Infection is to not eat undercooked food like chicken. Drinking only pasteurized milk also will help in avoiding Campylobacter Infection. Some of the other measures that an individual can take to prevent Campylobacter Infection are:
- Wash hands thoroughly before cooking and after touching raw poultry items.
- Keep uncooked poultry items away from other foods like vegetables
- Wear gloves or wash hands thoroughly after cleaning pet dander or playing with pets.