Campylobacter infection; The spread and perceived cause of antibiotics-resistant of human Campylobacter infection

  25 May 2023

By Blessing Nkechi Emmanuel


Given an instance, there was a certain small town in rural America where people lived. A day came when the town was struck by a sudden outbreak of Campylobacter, a bacterial infection that causes severe diarrhea, stomach cramp and fever also known as stomach flu or food poisoning. At first, the doctors in the town prescribed antibiotics to treat the infected patients, and many of them recovered quickly. However, over time a disturbing strain emerged. Some of the patients who had been treated with antibiotics did not recover, and their symptoms persisted. In for some of them the illness was complicated and it got worse. The doctors soon realized that they were dealing with a strain of campylobacter that was resistant to antibiotics. meaning that the bacteria had evolved in such a way that the antibiotics were no longer effective against it. As a result, the infection was spreading rapidly, and more people got infected and fell ill. The local health department quickly launched an investigation to determine the source the outbreak. It turned out that the bacterial has been spread through contaminated food, particularly under cooked chicken. The bacteria had been present in the intestine of the chickens, and it spread to humans through consumption of the contaminated meat. The town was facing a major public health public health crisis, as the outbreak was spreading rapidly, and there are concerns that the bacteria could spread beyond the town and become a regional or even national problem. This situation was further complicated by the fact that many people in the town, especially, those in the farming community, were resistant to the idea of reducing their use of antibiotics in livestock. They felt that antibiotics was necessary to keep their animal’s health and prevent disease outbreaks. However, when the people in the community realized the source of the outbreak, they were able to contain the outbreak by implementing strict food safety protocols and encouraged good hygiene practices. However, the experience illustrated the dangers of antibiotics resistant bacteria and the need for more responsible use of antibiotics in both humans and animals.

The spread and perceived cause of antibiotics-resistant of human Campylobacter infection.

The spread of Campylobacter infections in humans are commonly associated with ingestion of undercooked poultry, unpasteurized milk, untreated water, and contact with livestock. The infection can also be found in the feces of some of pets such as dogs and cats etc., particularly, pets with diarrhea, and hence humans can become infected if they don’t properly wash their hands after handling these pets. The misuse of antibiotics on livestock plays pivotal role in the spread of campylobacter infection, for instance, when one animal becomes infected, prophylactic antibiotics might be given to the whole herd. This practice may be beneficial to the farmer in certain circumstances. However, such practice may lead to evolution of antibiotics-resistant strains of the bacteria.


The so-called stomach flu in humans have the following associated symptoms including Diarrhea (sometimes with blood), Nausea and vomiting, fever and headache. Even though not all that are infected gets sick, however, Individuals who eventually falls ill develops symptoms usually 1-7 days after infection and it last for about a week.

 Rare complication of Campylobacter infection includes; Erythema nodosum, painful infection of the fatty layer of the skin, usually on the leg and Gullain-Barre syndrome, reactive arthritis, joint inflammation.

Diagnosis of Campylobacter infection

Campylobacter bacteria can be detected in stool, body tissue, or fluids. The laboratory test could be a culture that isolates the bacteria or a rapid diagnostic test (RDT) that detects genetic material of the bacteria.  In very rare cases, campylobacter can enter the blood stream. In this case a life-threatening infection is developed and at such a blood test is required.

Treatment of antibiotic resistant Campylobacter                                                                     

There is no specific treatment for most cases of Campylobacteriosis, individuals with mild cases of campylobacter infection don’t need antibiotics, all they need is to drink plenty of fluids while diarrhea last. while individuals with serious illness might need antibiotics such as azithromycin and ciprofloxacin.  However, some of these bacteria are now resistant to the antibiotics commonly used for its treatment as result Campylobacter infection that are antibiotic-resistant can prove more difficult to treat, last longer, and cause more serious illness. These infections ca therefore pose a serious public health threat.

Campylobacter Infection and One Health Intervention

One health is an integral approach that recognizes the health of animals, humans, plants and the environment as closely related and interdependent sectors. One health emphasizes the need for collaborations and communication across different sectors to promote the health and well-being of all species. Therefore, to effectively contain antimicrobial resistance each of these sectors must use antibiotics judiciously as well as take other precautions. One health interventions for campylobacter infection typically involve a multifaceted approach that addresses the problem at different levels, including; improved animal husbandry hygiene practices, improved food handling and processing practices, educating the public about the risk associated with campylobacter infection, regular monitoring and surveillance of the prevalence of campylobacter infection in both animals and humans and finally antibiotic stewardship. This approach can help reduce the incidence of Campylobacter infection and improve the health and well-being of both animals and humans


In conclusion, Campylobacter is a significant public health concern that can cause severe illness as well as evolution of antibiotic-resistant strains in humans. However, appropriate use of antibiotics in both in animals and humans can reduce the development and spread of antibiotic-resistant strains of campylobacter. Ultimately, a one health approach can pave the way for a more sustainable and resilient future for all.

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