The dangers of the bacteria Campylobacter
Who is at risk?
Infants, young adults, and males are most likely to get the condition.
What are the sources of the bacteria?
Campylobacteriosis, also known as "traveler's diarrhea", is usually caused by handling poultry that is contaminated with the campylobacter bacteria and is raw or not completely cooked. For example, you can be infected by cutting poultry meat on a cutting board and then using the unwashed cutting board or utensil to prepare vegetables or other raw or lightly cooked foods. Drinking contaminated milk or water from contaminated lakes or streams can also result in infection.
How long is the incubation period?
The incubation period is from 2 days to 10 days.
What are the symptoms?
The symptoms of the Campylobacter are fever, diarrhea, vomiting, and cramps.
How dangerous is the illness?
Most people infected with this bacteria recover within 2 to ten days. Rarely, this bacteria causes long term consequences. It could cause arthritis and very rarely, a disease called Guillain-Barré syndrome. This disease attacks the nerves of the body and begins several weeks after the diarrhea illness, this causes a paralysis. The paralysis lasts several weeks and has to be treated with intensive medical care.
How can people prevent the illness?
- Make sure that the meat is cooked throughout (no longer pink) and any juices run clear. All poultry should be cooked to reach a minimum internal temperature of 165°F.
- Wash hands with soap before preparing food
- Wash hands with soap after handling raw foods of animal origin and before touching anything else.
- Prevent cross-contamination in the kitchen by using separate cutting boards for foods of animal origin and other foods and by thoroughly cleaning all cutting boards, countertops, and utensils with soap and hot water after preparing raw food of animal origin.
- Do not drink unpasteurized milk or untreated surface water.