Risks of campylobacteriosis (Campylobacter)

Learn what the risks of campylobacteriosis are and who is most at risk.

On this page

The risk of getting campylobacteriosis

Your risk of getting campylobacteriosis is highest if you eat certain raw or undercooked foods contaminated with Campylobacter, especially:

  • poultry
  • unprocessed milk and milk products

Other foods that increase your risk include:

  • shellfish
  • untreated drinking water
  • raw or undercooked meat, such as:
    • beef
    • pork
    • lamb
  • raw fruits and vegetables (and their juices)

You are at risk of being exposed to Campylobacter if you do not:

  • wash your hands with soap after:
    • looking after livestock
    • handling raw meat or vegetables
    • handling pets, including animals at petting zoos
    • using the bathroom or looking after someone who is sick from the Campylobacter bacteria
  • wash fruits and vegetables well before eating them raw
  • prevent cross-contamination by using different cutting boards for raw meat and other foods
  • clean work surfaces thoroughly before and after preparing raw meat, particularly poultry

Who is most at risk

Anyone can get sick fromcampylobacteriosis. However, you are at greater risk if you:

  • are aged 60 or older
  • are a pregnant woman
  • are a child under 5 years of age
  • have a weak immune system (ability to fight disease)

The risk of complications

In rare cases, there can be risks of severe complications, such as:

  • Guillain-Barr√© syndrome, a disorder that affects the nervous system (brain, nerves and spinal cord)
  • reactive arthritis, a condition that develops in response to an infection in another part of the body
    • this can lead to long-term arthritis

You may also be at risk for:

  • irritable bowel syndrome
  • an infection of the bloodstream (septicemia)
  • a swollen and irritated colon (chronic colitis)
  • infection of the brain and spinal cord (meningitis)
  • a swollen gall bladder, which can feel like sharp stomach pain

Page details

Date modified: