Intended for healthcare professionals

Research Article

Campylobacter enteritis: a "new" disease.

Br Med J 1977; 2 doi: (Published 02 July 1977) Cite this as: Br Med J 1977;2:9
  1. M B Skirrow


    By selective culture campylobacters (C jejuni and C coli) were isolated from the faeces of 57 (7-1%) out of 803 unselected patients with diarrhoea; none were isolated from 194 people who had not got diarrhoea. Specific agglutinins were found in the sera of 31 out of 38 patients with campylobacter enteritis and 10 of them had a rising titre. Half the patients were aged 15 to 44 years, but the incidence was highest in young children. All the patients with campylobacters had a distinctive clinical illness with severe abdominal pain. Campylobacters are a relatively unrecognised cause of acute enteritis, but these findings suggest that they may be a common cause. Spread of infection was observed within 12 out of 29 households, and in these cases children were usually implicated. Several patients were apparently infected from chickens, both live and dressed, and poultry may be the primary source of the organism. In two cases dogs with diarrhoea were found to be infected with strains indistinguishable from their human contacts. Ten patients acquired their infections while travelling abroad.