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Campylobacteriosis is a reportable disease in Oklahoma. Campylobacteriosis is a disease caused by the bacteria Campylobacter. The disease is characterized by diarrhea, vomiting, fever, and muscle aches. Sometimes blood is noticeable in the stool. The illness typically lasts one week. In persons with compromised immune systems, Campylobacter occasionally spreads to the bloodstream and causes a more severe disease.

Most people who experience campylobacteriosis recover completely within two to five days, although recovery may sometimes take up to 10 days. Rarely, Campylobacter causes a neurologic condition called Guillain-Barré syndrome (pronounced “ghee-YAN bah-RAY”), in which the body’s immune system attacks nerves, resulting in temporary paralysis that lasts several weeks and usually requires intensive care. Campylobacter is one of the most common causes of bacterial foodborne illness in the U.S., and is a common cause of traveler’s diarrhea.

Symptoms of campylobacteriosis usually occur two to five days after exposure to Campylobacter, but can appear as soon as one day or as long as 10 days later. Most Campylobacter infections occur from consuming contaminated food or from contact with sick animals. Raw poultry is especially likely to contain Campylobacter. Whenever preparing raw chicken, turkey, or other poultry at home, it is necessary to behave as if the raw meat contains bacteria. Never reuse the same cutting board, knives, or dishes used for preparing raw chicken or turkey without first washing with hot water and dish detergent. Ensure that chicken and turkey are cooked to an internal temperature of 165°F.

Campylobacter bacteria are found in cattle, poultry, and swine, as well as dogs and cats. Puppies and kittens in particular are frequently infected with Campylobacter, and are an important cause of illness in humans. Always take pets with diarrhea to a veterinarian.

How to prevent campylobacteriosis:

  • Always refrigerate meat products.
  • Always cook meat completely.
  • Never eat raw or undercooked meat.
  • Avoid consuming milk or juice that isn’t pasteurized.
  • Always wash your hands with soap and water before and after preparing food
  • Clean and sanitize countertops, cutting boards, knives, and utensils after preparing food.
  • Never reuse a plate or utensil for other foods after they have come into contact with raw meat.
  • Discard or launder dishrags and sponges regularly, as they can trap and grow bacteria.
  • Always wash your hands after using the toilet or handling pets.