The National Academies: What You Need To Know About Infectious Disease

The National Academies

What You Need To Know About Infectious Disease

Campylobacteriosis

Campylobacteriosis is a diarrheal illness caused by the bacterium campylobacter, which lives harmlessly in most non-human, warm-blooded animals and grows best in the intestines of birds. The bacteria can be easily spread from animal to human through contaminated feces or meat. It is one of the most common gastrointestinal illnesses in the world. Most cases of campylobacteriosis are not reported and it is estimated that several million people are infected yearly. The disease is rarely fatal. Deaths caused by the disease are usually confined to very young or old patients or those with weak immune systems (e.g., AIDS patients).

Symptoms
Symptoms usually occur between 2 and 5 days after being infected and include diarrhea, abdominal pain, vomiting, nausea, fever, and headache. Sometimes the diarrhea becomes bloody. Symptoms usually last 3 to 6 days. Complications of the infection are rare but they do occur. Bacteremia, hepatitis, arthritis, pancreatitis, and some neurological disorders have been reported to develop during or after a campylobacter infection. Campylobacter infections can occasionally lead to death but usually only in patients with compromised immune systems due to age or other diseases.

Treatment
Most patients recover from campylobacteriosis without taking medications. The most important treatment is the replacement of water and salts lost through diarrhea. Therefore, patients should drink a lot of water throughout the duration of their illness. Antibiotics can be used to treat severe cases but are usually not necessary.

Prevention
Because campylobacter can spread from animal feces or meat to humans, infections are most easily prevented by practicing good food preparation methods. You should always wash your hands before and after preparing food, and clean kitchen utensils after use with raw meats to avoid cross contamination. Meat, especially poultry products, should be well cooked before eating and only pasteurized milk should be consumed.

Sources:
http://www.cdc.gov/nczved/divisions/dfbmd/diseases/campylobacter/#what
http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs255/en/

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What do you know about infectious disease?

How long did it take the 2009 “swine flu” pandemic to spread to 30 countries?

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    The 2009 “swine flu” pandemic starkly illustrated the impact of globalization and air travel on the movement of infectious diseases—with the infection spreading to 30 countries within six weeks and to more than 190 countries and territories within months.

  • Correct!

    The 2009 “swine flu” pandemic starkly illustrated the impact of globalization and air travel on the movement of infectious diseases—with the infection spreading to 30 countries within six weeks and to more than 190 countries and territories within months.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    The 2009 “swine flu” pandemic starkly illustrated the impact of globalization and air travel on the movement of infectious diseases—with the infection spreading to 30 countries within six weeks and to more than 190 countries and territories within months.

Infectious Disease Defined

Latent Infection

A type of persistent viral infection in which the virus is not currently producing additional viral offspring, but could later be reactivated and begin producing copies of the virus without the host being re-infected.

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