Campylobacter Laboratory

Research Scientist

Dr. Catherine Carrillo,
Bureau of Microbial Hazards, Health Canada

Research Technical Support: Robyn Kenwell

Research Activity

micrograph of Campylobacter jejuni

Transmission electron micrograph of Campylobacter jejuni Courtesy of Dr. John Austin and Greg Saunders.

Campylobacter spp. are pathogenic microorganisms that are responsible for most of the cases of bacterial gastroenteritis in Canada and around the world. Infections with this organism generally occur sporadically, though outbreaks do occur, and are most frequently associated with consumption of poultry products, raw milk, or contaminated water (e.g. Walkerton outbreak). Campylobacter spp. do not replicate or survive well under typical conditions found outside human or animal hosts, thus, it is unclear why this organism plays such an important role in human infection in Canada. Research in the Campylobacter laboratory is focused on detection, characterization and control of Campylobacter spp. and related bacteria in foods and in the food production continuum. We are currently developing microbiological and molecular methods for detection and enumeration of this organism in a variety of foods. We are also using genomic tools to investigate strategies the organism can use for survival inside and outside of their hosts as this will help us to understand how campylobacters are spread within food production, processing and kitchen environments. This knowledge is crucial if we are to develop effective interventions to eliminate Campylobacter in foods, and improve the safety of the Canadian food supply.

Current Research Activity

  1. Real time Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) methods for detection and enumeration of viable Campylobacter spp. in foods.
  2. Detection and enumeration of Campylobacter spp. in retail poultry
  3. Investigation of the role of biofilms and protozoa in prolonged survival of Campylobacter jejuni in foods and in the food production environment.
  4. Genome and gene-expression analysis of C. jejuni isolates from clinical, food and environmental sources to identify genetic factors associated with source, virulence and survival.
  5. Survival of foodborne pathogens in compost.

Recent Publications

Medeiros, D. T., S. S. Sattar, J. M. Farber and C. D. Carrillo. 2008. The prevalence of Campylobacter spp. in raw and ready-to-eat foods and in a Canadian foodservice operation: results of a two-year study. Journal of Food Protection. 71 (10): 2087-93.

Snelling, W. J., R. D. Sleator, C. D. Carrillo, C. J. Lowery, J. E. Moore, J. P. Pezacki and J. S. G. Dooley. 2008. Current and emerging microbiology issues of potable water in developed countries. Environmental Research Journal. 3(1): 11-40.

C.D. Carrillo, O. Mykytczuk, J. Austin, J. Nash and C. Szymanski. 2007. Gene Expression Analyses of Campylobacter jejuni 11168 Biofilm, Pellicle and Plate Cultures: Multiple Profiles of Immobilized Growth. CHRO 2007, 14th International Workshop on Campylobacter, Helicobacter and Related Organisms. Rotterdam, the Netherlands. September 2-5, 2007. Zoonoses and Public Health, vol 54 (Suppl. 1): 72.

Nash, J.H., W.A. Findlay, C.C. Luebbert, O.L. Mykytczuk, S.J. Foote, E.N. Taboada, C.D. Carrillo, J.M. Boyd, D.J. Colquhoun, M.E. Reith, L.L. Brown. 2006. Comparative genomics profiling of clinical isolates of Aeromonas salmonicida using DNA microarrays. BMC Genomics. Mar 7; 7:43.

Sampathkumar B, S. Napper, C.D. Carrillo, P. Willson, E. Taboada, J.H. Nash, A.A. Potter, L.A. Babiuk and B.J.Allan. 2006. Transcriptional and translational expression patterns associated with immobilized growth of Campylobacter jejuni. Microbiology. Feb; 152(Pt 2):567-77.

Other Related Links

  1. Consumer information on Campylobacter
  2. Compendium of analytical methods
  3. Public Health Agency of Canada
    1. Notifiable Diseases On-Line
    2. Notifiable Diseases On-Line: Campylobacteriosis
  4. Canadian Food Inspection Agency: Food Safety Facts on Campylobacter
  5. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  6. US Food and Drug Administration

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