1. Name of the Organism:
Campylobacter jejuni (formerly known as Campylobacter fetus subsp. jejuni) Campylobacter jejuni is a Gram-negative slender, curved, and motile rod. It is a microaerophilic organism, which means it has a requirement for reduced levels of oxygen. It is relatively fragile, and sensitive to environmental stresses (e.g., 21% oxygen, drying, heating, disinfectants, acidic conditions). Because of its microaerophilic characteristics the organism requires 3 to 5% oxygen and 2 to 10% carbon dioxide for optimal growth conditions. This bacterium is now recognized as an important enteric pathogen. Before 1972, when methods were developed for its isolation from feces, it was believed to be primarily an animal pathogen causing abortion and enteritis in sheep and cattle. Surveys have shown that C. jejuni is the leading cause of bacterial diarrheal illness in the United States. It causes more disease than Shigella spp. and Salmonella spp. combined.
Although C. jejuni is not carried by healthy individuals in the United States or Europe, it is often isolated from healthy cattle, chickens, birds and even flies. It is sometimes present in non-chlorinated water sources such as streams and ponds.
Because the pathogenic mechanisms of C. jejuni are still being studied, it is difficult to differentiate pathogenic from nonpathogenic strains. However, it appears that many of the chicken isolates are pathogens