Outbreaks of Campylobacteriosis in Australia, 2001 to 2006

National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health, Australian National University, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia.
Foodborne Pathogens and Disease (Impact Factor: 1.91). 11/2009; 6(10):1241-50. DOI: 10.1089/fpd.2009.0300
Source: PubMed


The objective of this study was to examine the frequency of Campylobacter outbreaks in Australia and determine common transmission routes and vehicles. Summary and unit data on Campylobacter outbreaks that occurred between January 2001 and December 2006 were systematically collected and analyzed. Data from Campylobacter mandatory notifications for the same period were used for comparison. During the study period there were 33 Campylobacter outbreaks reported, affecting 457 persons. Of these, 147 (32%) had laboratory-confirmed infections, constituting 0.1% of notified Campylobacter cases. Campylobacter outbreaks most commonly occurred during the Australian Spring (September to November; n = 14, 45%), when notifications generally peaked. Transmission was predominantly foodborne or suspected foodborne (n = 27, 82%), commercial settings (n = 15, 55%) being most commonly involved. There were eight foodborne outbreaks (30%) attributed to food prepared or eaten at institutions; four (15%) at aged care facilities and three (11%) at school camps. A vehicle or suspected vehicle was determined for 16 (59%) foodborne outbreaks; poultry (chicken or duck) was associated with 11 (41%) of these, unpasteurized milk and salad were associated with two outbreaks each. Three potential waterborne outbreaks were detected, and one was due to person-to-person transmission. Campylobacter outbreaks were more commonly detected during this study period compared to a previous 6-year period (n = 9) when prospective recording of information was not undertaken. However, outbreak cases continue to constitute a very small proportion of notifications. Improved recognition through subtyping is required to enhance outbreak detection and investigation so as to aid policy formulation for prevention of infection. In addition to detection of chicken as a common source of outbreaks, these data highlight the importance of directing policy at commercial premises, aged care facilities, and school camps to reduce Campylobacter disease burden.

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    • "Higher campylobacter prevalence in flocks and retail meat in summer have also been shown [56]. Summer peaks in human VTEC infection have been associated with ground beef consumption [57] with similar findings for other bacterial pathogens [58], [59]. For food borne illnesses, sustained warmer temperatures could increase length of transmission seasons, enhancing opportunities for food handling errors leading to seasonal enteric disease outbreaks [60]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Although seasonality is a defining characteristic of many infectious diseases, few studies have described and compared seasonal patterns across diseases globally, impeding our understanding of putative mechanisms. Here, we review seasonal patterns across five enteric zoonotic diseases: campylobacteriosis, salmonellosis, vero-cytotoxigenic Escherichia coli (VTEC), cryptosporidiosis and giardiasis in the context of two primary drivers of seasonality: (i) environmental effects on pathogen occurrence and pathogen-host associations and (ii) population characteristics/behaviour. We systematically reviewed published literature from 1960-2010, resulting in the review of 86 studies across the five diseases. The Gini coefficient compared temporal variations in incidence across diseases and the monthly seasonality index characterised timing of seasonal peaks. Consistent seasonal patterns across transnational boundaries, albeit with regional variations was observed. The bacterial diseases all had a distinct summer peak, with identical Gini values for campylobacteriosis and salmonellosis (0.22) and a higher index for VTEC (Gini  0.36). Cryptosporidiosis displayed a bi-modal peak with spring and summer highs and the most marked temporal variation (Gini = 0.39). Giardiasis showed a relatively small summer increase and was the least variable (Gini = 0.18). Seasonal variation in enteric zoonotic diseases is ubiquitous, with regional variations highlighting complex environment-pathogen-host interactions. Results suggest that proximal environmental influences and host population dynamics, together with distal, longer-term climatic variability could have important direct and indirect consequences for future enteric disease risk. Additional understanding of the concerted influence of these factors on disease patterns may improve assessment and prediction of enteric disease burden in temperate, developed countries.
    PLoS ONE 04/2012; 7(4):e31883. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0031883 · 3.23 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The reported incidence of human campylobacteriosis in Finland is higher than in most other European countries. A high annual percentage of sporadic infections is of foreign origin, although a notable proportion of summer infections is domestically acquired. While chickens appear to be a major source of campylobacters for humans in most countries, the prevalence of campylobacters is very low in chicken slaughter batches in Finland. Data on other potential animal reservoirs of human pathogenic campylobacters in Finland are scarce. Consequently, this study aimed to investigate the status of Finnish cattle as a potential source of thermophilic Campylobacter spp. and antibiotic-resistant Campylobacter jejuni for human sporadic campylobacter infections of domestic origin. A survey of the prevalence of thermophilic Campylobacter spp. in Finnish cattle studied bovine rectal faecal samples (n=952) and carcass surface samples (n=948) from twelve Finnish slaughterhouses from January to December 2003. The total prevalence of Campylobacter spp. in faecal samples was 31.1%, and in carcass samples 3.5%. Campylobacter jejuni, the most common species, was present in 19.5% of faecal samples and in 3.1% of carcasses. In addition to thermophilic Campylobacter spp., C. hyointestinalis ssp. hyointestinalis was present in bovine samples. The prevalence of campylobacters was higher among beef cattle than among dairy cattle. Using the enrichment method, the number of positive faecal samples was 7.5 times higher than that obtained by direct plating. The predominant serotypes of faecal C. jejuni, determined by serotyping with a set of 25 commercial antisera for heat-stable antigens (Penner), were Pen2 and Pen4-complex, which covered 52% of the samples. Genotyping with pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) using SmaI restriction yielded a high diversity of C. jejuni subtypes in cattle. Determining the minimum inhibitory concentrations of ampicillin, enrofloxacin, erythromycin, gentamicin, nalidixic acid, and oxytetracycline among bovine C. jejuni isolates using a commercial broth microdilution method yielded 9% of isolates resistant to at least one of the antimicrobials examined. No multiresistant isolates were found among the bovine C. jejuni strains. The study of the shedding patterns of Campylobacter spp. among three Finnish dairy cattle herds included the examination of fresh faecal samples and tank milk samples taken five times, as well as samples from drinking troughs taken once during the one-year study. The semiquantitative enrichment method detected C. jejuni in 169 of the 340 faecal samples, mostly at low levels. In addition, C. jejuni was present in one drinking trough sample. The prevalence between herds and sampling occasions varied widely. PFGE, using SmaI as restriction enzyme, identified only a few subtypes in each herd. In two 2 of the herds, two subtypes persisted throughout the sampling. Individual animals presented various shedding patterns during the study. Comparison of C. jejuni isolates from humans, chickens and cattle included the design of primers for four new genetic markers selected from completely sequenced C. jejuni genomes 81-176, RM1221 and NCTC 11168, and the PCR examination of domestic human isolates from southern Finland in 1996, 2002 and 2003 (n=309), chicken isolates from 2003, 2006 and 2007 (n=205), and bovine isolates from 2003 (n=131). The results revealed that bovine isolates differed significantly from human and chicken isolates. In particular, the - glutamyl transpeptidase gene was uncommon among bovine isolates. The PFGE genotyping of C. jejuni isolates, using SmaI and KpnI restriction enzymes, included a geographically representative collection of isolates from domestic sporadic human infections, chicken slaughter batches, and cattle faeces and carcasses during the seasonal peak of campylobacteriosis in the summer of 2003. The study determined that 55.4% of human isolates were indistinguishable from those of chickens and cattle. Temporal association between isolates from humans and chickens was possible in 31.4% of human infections. Approximately 19% of the human infections may have been associated with cattle. However, isolates from bovine carcasses and human cases represented different PFGE subtypes. In conclusion, this study suggests that Finnish cattle is a notable reservoir of C. jejuni, the most important Campylobacter sp. in human enteric infections. Although the concentration of these organisms in bovine faeces appeared to be low, excretion can be persistent. The genetic diversity and presence or absence of marker genes support previous suggestions of host-adapted C. jejuni strains, and may indicate variations in virulence between strains from different hosts. In addition to chickens, Finnish cattle appeared to be an important reservoir and possible source of C. jejuni in domestic sporadic human infections. However, sources of campylobacters may differ between rural and urban areas in Finland, and in general, the transmission of C. jejuni of bovine origin probably occurs via other routes than food.
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    ABSTRACT: Campylobacter infection is a notifiable infectious disease in Victoria and with more than 6,000 cases notified annually, it is the second most commonly notified disease after chlamydia. The objectives of Campylobacter infection surveillance in Victoria are to monitor the epidemiology of Campylobacter infection, identify outbreaks, initiate control and prevention actions, educate the public in disease prevention, evaluate control and prevention measures, and plan services and priority setting. An evaluation of the system was undertaken to assess performance against its objectives, identify areas requiring improvement and inform a decision of whether Campylobacter infection should remain a notifiable infectious disease. The surveillance system was assessed on the attributes of data quality, timeliness, simplicity and acceptability using notifiable infectious diseases data and interviews with doctors who had failed to notify, and laboratory and public health staff. The evaluation found that the system collects core demographic data with high completeness that are appropriately reviewed, analysed and reported. In 2007, 12% of Campylobacter isolates were subtyped and only one to 3 outbreaks were identified annually from 2002 to 2007. Fifty-four per cent of cases were notified by doctors and 96% by laboratories, although nearly half of laboratory notifications were not received within the prescribed timeframe. Half of the surveyed non-notifying doctors thought that Campylobacter infection was not serious enough to warrant notification. The Campylobacter surveillance system is not fully satisfying its objectives. Investment in the further development of analytical methods, electronic notification and Campylobacter subtyping is required to improve simplicity, acceptability, timeliness and sensitivity.
    Communicable diseases intelligence 06/2010; 34(2):110-5.
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