Campylobacteriosis is an intestinal disease of people and animals, including birds, and is spread via contaminated food and water. The causative bacterium, Campylobacter jejuni, is found worldwide.
Watery, bloody diarrhea and vomiting are common signs in infected people and animals. The bacterium may be transmitted back and forth between the pet and owner.
It takes 1 to 10 days for signs of illness to develop after the bacteria are ingested. The disease may last 7 to 10 days, but untreated pets may shed the bacteria in the feces for 1 to 4 months, and people may pass it for 2 to 7 weeks. Outside the body, the bacteria may remain alive in infected feces, water, and milk for approximately 1 month, depending on conditions. It has been reported to cause about 10% of all diarrheal illnesses in people.
Important Points in Treatment
1. The disease can usually be cured, especially if no other serious, underlying disorder exists in your pet. Supportive treatment, including fluids, may be required if dehydration is evident.
2. Special laboratory tests are required to determine if your pet has the disease. Other conditions may be ruled out by a process of elimination, and an assumed diagnoses of campylobacteriosis may be made on the basis of signs and response to medication.
3. Prevention is the best approach. Feed properly processed foods and noncontaminated water. Do not leave moist foods in temperatures 41° to 140° F for more than a total of 3 hours (moist, high-protein foods support bacterial growth more readily than dry foods).
4. Practice good hygiene, including washing hands before preparing foods for people or animals. Be especially vigilant of children’s hands after playing with pets.
5. The bacteria may be passed for several weeks by way of feces in untreated pets and people.