What are Campylobacter germs?

Campylobacter bacteria are among the most common causes of bacterial enteritis in addition to salmonella. An infection with these pathogens usually manifests itself through symptoms such as fever, abdominal pain and violent diarrhea. Although the symptoms can sometimes be quite severe, the disease heals in most cases on its own, so that antibiotic therapy is rarely needed. Because the germs are primarily transmitted by spoiled food, Campylobacter infections occur more frequently in the summer months.

Transmission of Campylobacter germs and infection pathways

Campylobacter bacteria predominantly affect game and farm animals such as birds, cattle and pigs. From the people they are then by the Consumption of unpermanent meat or raw milk added. Transmission from human to human is rare, but infection via infected pets or contaminated drinking water is possible.

After admission via the gastrointestinal tract, the germs spread in the intestinal wall and form there a poison that triggers the symptoms of the disease.

Symptoms of Campylobacter infection

Two to five days after admission of the pathogen, unspecific symptoms such as headache, body aches and fever first occur. These are followed by the typical symptoms of Campylobacter enteritis:

  • severe abdominal pain and cramps
  • pulpy or watery, rarely bloody diarrhea
  • painful stool urge
  • high fever (up to 40 degrees Celcius)
  • Headache and body aches
  • Tiredness and general malaise

This symptom is particularly evident in an infection with Campylobacter jejuni, the main representative of the bacterial genus Campylobacter.

On the other hand, the related bacterium Campylobacter coli also cause a course of the disease without characteristic symptoms: In these cases, often no diarrhea, but only abdominal pain and fever.

Course and therapy

In otherwise healthy people, the symptoms often resolve on their own after seven to 14 days. Therefore, the therapy is limited to a treatment of the symptoms with analgesics and antipyretic drugs.

If the diarrhea is very severe, one should Compensation of fluid and mineral loss Make sure you pay attention to a drinking of about three liters per day, suitable is still mineral water, sweetened tea and meat or vegetable broth. In addition, special electrolyte solutions from the pharmacy can help to compensate for the lack of minerals.

Therapy with an antibiotic is only necessary in the case of particularly severe courses as well as in older or weakened patients.

Possible complications of Campylobacter infection

In rare cases, it may take two to six weeks after surviving Campylobacter infection as a sequel to a so-called reactive arthritis come. This is a joint inflammation whose origin is not clearly clarified. However, it is believed that the immune system attacks structures in the joint that resemble bacteria in their surface features.

In addition, Campylobacter bacteria come as a trigger of a also immune-related neuritis (Guillain-Barré syndrome).

Campylobacter fetus, a very rare subset of Campylobacter germs, can enter the bloodstream through the gut and spread throughout the body. This leads in particular to newborns and immunocompromised people to severe diseases such as meningitis (meningitis), inflammation of the heart lining (endocarditis) or phlebitis.

Prevention of Campylobacter infections

Since the pathogens are mainly taken from spoiled food, you should not consume raw meat, especially in the warm season Hygiene in the preparation of food respect, think highly of.

In rice countries with poor drinking water quality, it is advisable to prefer bottled water from the trade and to avoid drinking tap water.

Also general hygiene measures how to wash hands frequently - especially when dealing with animals - help to prevent Campylobacter infection.

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