In an informative article from U.S. News, Janurary W. Payne provides useful information on avoiding campylobacter infection.   Campylobacter is a bacterial infection, often spread through contaminated food.  

While it does not receive the notoriety of foodborne pathogens like E. coli O157:H7 and Salmonella, it is very common and can be quite dangerous.  In rare cases, Campylobacter infection can lead to Guillain-Barré (ghee-yan bah-ray) syndrome (GBS).   GBS is a disorder in which the body’s immune system attacks part of the peripheral nervous system.     Although this syndrome is rare (affecting about one to two persons in 100,000) it is the most common cause of acute neuromuscular paralysis in the world.

Payne provides four primary tips on avoiding Campylobacter infection:

  • Limiting poultry exposure – especially exposure to raw poultry.   The public lacks sufficient appreciation of the risks of exposure to raw foods, especially poultry, in the preparation process.  According to FDA testing, Campylobacter has been found in nearly 50% of raw chicken breasts.  Good kitchen hygiene, including handwashing, is important.
  • Proper hygiene with pets.   Payne reports that new animal owners (including dog owners)  are more likely to get Campylobacter infections.   Long time owners may build some resistance to infection.   Once again, washing hands is a good idea.
  • Travel Abroad-  the water supply in some countries can pose a threat.
  • Limit Antacids- Payne reports that antacids neutralize the stomach acids that help protect our bodies from bacteria.