Campylobacter

Campylobacter causes the most common foodborne illness in New Zealand. Find out about how it is spread and its effects on humans.

About campylobacteriosis

Campylobacteriosis is caused by the Campylobacter bacteria. It is the most common bacterial cause of foodborne illness in New Zealand. It occurs usually in single, sporadic cases though outbreaks do occur.

Sources of contamination

Poultry meat, unpasteurised milk and untreated drinking water are the most common sources of illness associated with Campylobacter.

Symptoms and effects

Most people experience diarrhoea, abdominal pain and fever within 2 to 5 days of being exposed to the organism. They usually recover in less than a week. In rare cases, it may cause long-term consequences such as Guillain-Barre syndrome or reactive arthritis. It can be fatal, but fortunately deaths are rare.