Intended for healthcare professionals

Research Article

Campylobacter enteritis associated with consumption of unpasteurised milk.

Br Med J 1979; 1 doi: (Published 05 May 1979) Cite this as: Br Med J 1979;1:1171

This article has a correction. Please see:

  1. D A Robinson,
  2. W J Edgar,
  3. G L Gibson,
  4. A A Matchett,
  5. L Robertson


    In October and November 1978 two outbreaks of enteritis occurred in the north of England. Symptoms lasted two to over eight days but in no case necessitated admission to hospital. Faecal specimens from most of the patients were found to contain thermophilic Campylobacter sp. Inquiry disclosed that all patients had consumed unpasteurised milk from local farms. Examination of rectal swabs from the cattle concerned and milk socks yielded strains of Campylobacter sp indistinguishable from those isolated from the patients. It was therefore concluded that, since campylobacters are not known to be excreted in milk, faecal contamination of the milk had probably occurred and had led to these outbreaks. Evidence suggests that thermophilic Campylobacter sp is an occasional contaminant of milk. So long as unpasteurised milk continues to be distributed further outbreaks will probably occur.