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Infection with less common Campylobacter species and related bacteria

Ban M Allos, MD
Section Editor
Stephen B Calderwood, MD
Deputy Editor
Allyson Bloom, MD


Campylobacter infection usually consists of acute enteritis caused by Campylobacter jejuni or Campylobacter coli. The genus Campylobacter comprises 20 species isolated from humans and many more isolated from animals. New species are identified regularly [1]. These organisms can cause a variety of infections including intestinal, systemic, fetal/placental (abortion, stillbirth), and oral (periodontitis). Certain closely related species of Arcobacter and Helicobacter also cause human infection and may be provisionally identified as campylobacters in clinical laboratories.

The clinical relevance of less common Campylobacter infections will be reviewed here [2]. Issues related to C. jejuni and C. coli are discussed separately. (See "Microbiology, pathogenesis, and epidemiology of Campylobacter infection" and "Clinical manifestations, diagnosis, and treatment of Campylobacter infection".)


Infections with the less common Campylobacter species and related organisms are observed more frequently among individuals in resource limited-settings than among individuals in developed countries [2]. Bacteremia has been observed in the setting of malnourished children with diarrhea and patients with immunodeficiency.

Campylobacter upsaliensis — Campylobacter upsaliensis is the most important Campylobacter species after C. jejuni and C. coli [3]. It is commonly found in younger dogs and cats, and interestingly, dogs fed homemade cooked food appear to have a higher risk of carrying this organism [4]. These animals were once considered likely sources of human infection; however, genetic studies have demonstrated that human and canine strains are distinct [5].

Considerable variation in isolation rates has been reported, which may be partly due to methodologic differences rather than differences in prevalence. The selective culture media used for C. jejuni and C. coli are unsuitable for C. upsaliensis, which requires filtration on nonselective agar or a special selective medium.

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Literature review current through: Nov 2017. | This topic last updated: May 19, 2017.
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