Bacteria of the genus Campylobacter and of the related genera Arcobacter and Helicobacter (Chap. 151) cause a variety of inflammatory conditions. Although acute diarrheal illnesses are most common, these organisms may cause infections in virtually all parts of the body, especially in compromised hosts, and these infections may have late nonsuppurative sequelae. The designation Campylobacter comes from the Greek for “curved rod” and refers to the organism's vibrio-like morphology.
Campylobacters are motile, non-spore-forming, curved, gram-negative rods. Originally known as Vibrio fetus, these bacilli were reclassified as a new genus in 1973, after their dissimilarity to other vibrios was recognized. More than 15 species have since been identified. These species are currently divided into three genera: Campylobacter, Arcobacter, and Helicobacter. Not all of the species are pathogens of humans. The human pathogens fall into two major groups: those that primarily cause diarrheal disease and those that cause extraintestinal infection. The principal diarrheal pathogen is C. jejuni, which accounts for 80–90% of all cases of recognized illness due to campylobacters and related genera. Other organisms that cause diarrheal disease include C. coli, C. upsaliensis, C. lari, C. hyointestinalis, C. fetus, A. butzleri, A. cryaerophilus, H. cinaedi, and H. fennelliae. The two Helicobacter species causing diarrheal disease, H. cinaedi and H. fennelliae, are intestinal rather than gastric organisms; in terms of the clinical features of the illnesses they cause, these species most closely resemble Campylobacter rather than H. pylori (Chap. 151) and thus are considered in this chapter.
The major species causing extraintestinal illnesses is C. fetus. However, any of the diarrheal agents listed above may cause systemic or localized infection as well, especially in compromised hosts. Neither aerobes nor strict anaerobes, these microaerophilic organisms are adapted for survival in the gastrointestinal mucous layer. This chapter focuses on C. jejuni and C. fetus as the major pathogens in and prototypes for their groups. The key features of infection are listed by species (excluding C. jejuni, described in detail in the text below) in Table 155-1.
Table 155-1 Clinical Features Associated with Infection Due to “Atypical” Campylobacter and Related Species Implicated as Causes of Human Illness |Favorite Table|Download (.pdf)
Table 155-1 Clinical Features Associated with Infection Due to “Atypical” Campylobacter and Related Species Implicated as Causes of Human Illness
|Species||Common Clinical Features||Less Common Clinical Features||Additional Information|
|Campylobacter coli||Fever, diarrhea, abdominal pain||Bacteremiaa||Clinically indistinguishable from C. jejuni|
|Campylobacter fetus||Bacteremia,a sepsis, meningitis, vascular infections||Diarrhea, relapsing fevers||Not usually isolated from media containing cephalothin or incubated at 42°C|
|Campylobacter upsaliensis||Watery diarrhea, low-grade fever, abdominal pain||Bacteremia, abscesses||Difficult to isolate because of cephalothin susceptibility|
|Campylobacter lari||Abdominal pain, diarrhea||Colitis, appendicitis||Seagulls frequently colonized; organism ...|
Log In to View More
If you don't have a subscription, please view our individual subscription options below to find out how you can gain access to this content.
Want remote access to your institution's subscription?
Sign in to your MyAccess profile while you are actively authenticated on this site via your institution (you will be able to verify this by looking at the top right corner of the screen - if you see your institution's name, you are authenticated). Once logged in to your MyAccess profile, you will be able to access your institution's subscription for 90 days from any location. You must be logged in while authenticated at least once every 90 days to maintain this remote access.
If your institution subscribes to this resource, and you don't have a MyAccess profile, please contact your library's reference desk for information on how to gain access to this resource from off-campus.
AccessMedicine Full Site: One-Year Subscription
Connect to the full suite of AccessMedicine content and resources including more than 250 examination and procedural videos, patient safety modules, an extensive drug database, Q&A, Case Files, and more.
Pay Per View: Timed Access to all of AccessMedicine
24 Hour Subscription $34.95
48 Hour Subscription $54.95
Pop-up div Successfully Displayed
This div only appears when the trigger link is hovered over.
Otherwise it is hidden from view.