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Campylobacter Enteritis: Clinical and Epidemiologic Features

MARTIN J. BLASER, M.D.; IVOR D. BERKOWITZ, M.B., B.Ch.; F. MARC LaFORCE, M.D.; JAMES CRAVENS, B.S.; L. BARTH RELLER, M.D.; and WEN-LAN LOU WANG, Ph.D.
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This paper was presented in part at the 18th Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, 1-4 October 1978, Atlanta, Georgia.

▸Requests for reprints should be addressed to Martin J. Blaser, M.D.; Enteric Disease Branch, Bureau of Epidemiology, Center for Disease Control, Atlanta, GA 30333.


Denver, Colorado


© 1979 American College of PhysiciansAmerican College of Physicians


Ann Intern Med. 1979;91(2):179-185. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-91-2-179
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Campylobacter fetus subspecies (ssp.) jejuni has been recently recognized to cause diarrheal disease in man. To assess its importance as an enteric pathogen, we prospectively studied 514 patients with diarrhea. Campylobacter fetus ssp. jejuni was isolated from the feces of 26 patients (5%) and seven of 11 of their symptomatic household contacts. This organism was isolated from the feces of only one of 18 asymptomatic household contacts and not at all from 157 other healthy persons. Seventeen of 20 patients from whom C. fetus ssp. jejuni was isolated from fecal culture showed at least a fourfold rise in specific IgG titers. Review of 35 cases of Campylobacter enteritis identified a typical clinical syndrome with acute onset of diarrhea, abdominal pain, fever, and constitutional symptoms. Stool examination revealed blood in 60% and polymorphonuclear leukocytes in 78% of patients. Epidemiologic investigation strongly suggested an external source for the infection in 22 of 35 patients.

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