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Campylobacter jejuni (Pronounced “camp-e-low-back-ter j-june-eye”) was not recognized as a cause of human foodborne illness prior to 1975. Now, the bacterial organism is known to be the most common cause of bacterial foodborne illness in the U.S.1 (Salmonella is the second most common cause).
Most cases Campylobacter infection occur as isolated, sporadic events, not as a part of the large outbreaks. Even though surveillance is very limited, over 10,000 cases are reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) each year. Active surveillance for cases indicates that over 17 cases for each 100,000 persons in the population (or about 46,000 cases) are diagnosed yearly.1 Undoubtedly, many more cases go undiagnosed and unreported, and estimates are that Campylobacter causes 2-4 million cases per year in the United States.4
Campylobacteriosis occurs more frequently in the summer months than in the winter. Although Campylobacter doesn’t commonly cause death, it has been estimated that 100 persons with Campylobacter infections die each year from the infection. Recently, the CDC reported that Campylobacter infections related to raw or uncooked poultry fell by 28%.