Skip to main content

The association between campylobacteriosis, agriculture and drinking water: a case-case study in a region of British Columbia, Canada, 2005–2009

  • E. GALANIS (a1) (a2), S. MAK (a1), M. OTTERSTATTER (a1), M. TAYLOR (a1), M. ZUBEL (a3), T. K. TAKARO (a4), M. KUO (a1) and P. MICHEL (a5)...

We studied the association between drinking water, agriculture and sporadic human campylobacteriosis in one region of British Columbia (BC), Canada. We compared 2992 cases of campylobacteriosis to 4816 cases of other reportable enteric diseases in 2005–2009 using multivariate regression. Cases were geocoded and assigned drinking water source, rural/urban environment and socioeconomic status (SES) according to the location of their residence using geographical information systems analysis methods. The odds of campylobacteriosis compared to enteric disease controls were higher for individuals serviced by private wells than municipal surface water systems (odds ratio 1·4, 95% confidence interval 1·1–1·8). In rural settings, the odds of campylobacteriosis were higher in November (P = 0·014). The odds of campylobacteriosis were higher in individuals aged ⩾15 years, especially in those with higher SES. In this region of BC, campylobacteriosis risk, compared to other enteric diseases, seems to be mediated by vulnerable drinking water sources and rural factors. Consideration should be given to further support well-water users and to further study the microbiological impact of agriculture on water.

Corresponding author
* Author for correspondence: Dr E. Galanis, British Columbia Centre for Disease Control, 655 12th Ave West, Vancouver, BC, Canada, V5Z 4R4. (Email:
Hide All
1. World Health Organisation. The global view of campylobacteriosis: Report of an expert consultation, Utrecht, Netherlands, 9–11 July 2012. Geneva, Switzerland, 2013.
2. Nachamkin, I, Szymanski, C, Blaser, M. Campylobacter, 3rd edn. Washington, DC: ASM Press, 2008.
3. Mullner, P, et al. Source attribution of food-borne zoonoses in New Zealand: a modified Hald model. Risk Analysis 2009; 29: 970984.
4. Sheppard, SK, et al. Campylobacter genotyping to determine the source of human infection. Clinical Infectious Diseases 2009; 48: 10721078.
5. European Food Safety Authority. Scientific opinion on Campylobacter in broiler meat production: Control options and performance objectives and/or targets at different stages of the food chain. EFSA Panel on Biological Hazards (BIOHAZ). EFSA Journal 2011; 9, 2105.
6. Mughini Gras, L, et al. Risk factors for campylobacteriosis of chicken, ruminant, and environmental origin: a combined case-control and source attribution analysis. PLoS One 2012; 7.
7. Arsenault, J, Epidemiologie spatiale de la campylobacteriose au Quebec [Dissertation]. Montreal, Canada: Université de Montréal, 2010, 1299.
8. BC Centre for Disease Control. British Columbia annual summary of reportable diseases 2011. 2012 ( Accessed 30 August 2013.
9. Uhlmann, S, et al. Where's the pump? Associating sporadic enteric disease with drinking water using a geographic information system, in British Columbia, Canada, 1996–2005. Journal of Water and Health 2009; 7: 692698.
10. Laberge, K, Michel, P, Galanis, E. High animal density and urban environments increase the risk of campylobacteriosis in BC, Canada. Zoonoses and Public Health 2007; 54 (Suppl. 1): 24.
11. Kuo, ME et al. Comparison of risk factors for locally-acquired versus travel-related human campylobacteriosis in BC, Canada. Proceedings of the 16th International Workshop on Campylobacter, Helicobacter and Related Organisms, 2011, p. 121.
12. BC Stats. Population estimates. Updated 2013 ( Accessed 30 August 2013.
13. Fraser Health Authority. Drinking Water Annual Report 2010/2011. 2012 Feb. ( Accessed 30 August 2013.
14. Strickland, MJ, et al. Quantifying geocode location error using GIS methods. Environmental Health 2007; 4: 10.
15. BC Ministry of Environment. WELLS: Ground water wells and aquifer database. Updated 2013 ( Accessed 30 August 2013.
16. Canadian Food Inspection Agency. List of federally registered meat establishments and their licensed operators. Updated 1 September 2006 ( Accessed 1 November 2012.
17. BC Centre for Disease Control. Provincially licensed class A and B meat plants. Updated 26 June 2013 ( Accessed 2 September 2013.
18. Turgeon, P, et al. Fecal contamination of recreational freshwaters: The effect of time-independent agroenvironmental factors. Water Quality, Exposure and Health 2011; 3: 109118.
19. Statistics Canada. Urban area. Updated 5 September 2007 ( Accessed 27 May 2013.
20. Pampalon, R, et al. A deprivation index for health planning in Canada. Chronic Diseases in Canada 2009; 29: 178191.
21. Statistics Canada. 2006 census of population. Updated 8 March 2013 ( Accessed 2 September 2013.
22. McCarthy, N, Giesecke, J. Case-case comparisons to study causation of common infectious diseases. International Journal of Health and Geography 1999; 28: 764768.
23. Gillespie, IA, et al. A case-case comparison of Campylobacter coli and Campylobacter jejuni infection: a tool for generating hypotheses. Emerging Infectious Diseases 2002; 8: 937942.
24. Wilson, N, et al. Case-case analysis of enteric diseases with routine surveillance data: Potential use and example results. Epidemiological Perspectives and Innovation 2008; 5: 6.
25. Scallan, E, et al. Foodborne illness acquired in the United State: major pathogens. Emerging Infectious Diseases 2011; 17: 715.
26. Thomas, M, et al. Estimates of the burden of foodborne illness in Canada for 30 specified pathogens and unspecified agents, circa 2006. Foodborne Pathogens and Disease 2013; 10: 639648.
27. Kapperud, G, et al. Factors associated with increased and decreased risk of Campylobacter infection: a prospective case-control study in Norway. American Journal of Epidemiology 2003; 158: 234242.
28. Nygard, K, et al. Association between environmental risk factors and campylobacter infections in Sweden. Epidemiology and Infection 2004 April; 132: 317325.
29. Schonberg-Norio, D, et al. Swimming and Campylobacter infections. Emerging Infectious Diseases 2004 August; 10: 14741477.
30. Clark, CG, et al. Characterization of waterborne outbreak-associated Campylobacter jejuni, Walkerton, Ontario. Emerging Infectious Diseases 2003 October; 9: 12321241.
31. Hii, B et al. Abbotsford-Sumas Aquifer, British Columbia, Canada: 2004. Groundwater Quality Survey – Nitrate and Bacteria, September 2006.
32. Mitchell, RJ, et al. Nitrate distributions and source identification in the Abbotsford-Sumas Aquifer, northwestern Washington State. Journal of Environmental Quality 2003; 32: 789800.
33. Carey, B, Cummings, R. Sumas-Blaine Aquifer Nitrate Contamination Summary. Olympia, WA: Washington State Department of Ecology, 2012. Report No.: 12-03-026.
34. Febriani, Y, et al. Association between indicators of livestock farming intensity and hospitalization rate for acute gastroenteritis. Epidemiology and Infection 2009; 137: 10731085.
35. Spencer, SE, et al. The spatial and temporal determinants of campylobacteriosis notifications in New Zealand, 2001–2007. Epidemiology and Infection 2012; 140: 16631677.
36. Bessell, PR, et al. Geographic determinants of reported human Campylobacter infections in Scotland. BMC Public Health 2010; 10: 423.
37. Green, CG, Krause, DO, Wylie, JL. Spatial analysis of campylobacter infection in the Canadian province of Manitoba. International Journal of Health and Geography 2006; 5: 2.
38. Kabore, H, et al. Association between potential zoonotic enteric infections in children and environmental risk factors in Quebec, 1999–2006. Zoonoses and Public Health 2010 December; 57: e195e205.
39. Arsenault, J, et al. Environmental characteristics associated with campylobacteriosis: accounting for the effect of age and season. Epidemiology and Infection 2012; 140: 311322.
40. Fleury, M, et al. A time series analysis of the relationship of ambient temperature and common bacterial enteric infections in two Canadian provinces. International Journal of Biometeorology 2006; 50: 385391.
41. Lal, A, et al. Seasonality in human zoonotic enteric diseases: a systematic review. PLoS One 2012; 7: e31883.
42. Nylen, G, et al. The seasonal distribution of campylobacter infection in nine European countries and New Zealand. Epidemiology and Infection 2002; 128: 383390.
43. Taylor, M, et al. The impact of international travel on the epidemiology of enteric infections, British Columbia, 2008. Canadian Journal of Public Health 2010; 101: 332336.
44. Ministry of Agriculture. Manure spreading advisories. Updated 3 June 2013. ( Accessed: 10 July 2013.
45. Environment Canada. National climate data and information archive. Updated 4 February 2013 ( Accessed 13 May 2013.
46. Febriani, Y, et al. The association between farming activities, precipitation, and the risk of acute gastrointestinal illness in rural municipalities of Quebec, Canada: a cross-sectional study. BMC Public Health 2010; 10: 48.
47. Agricultural Land Commission. Agricultural Land Reserve. Updated 1 May 2013 ( Accessed 13 May 2013.
48. Jones, K, Betaieb, M, Telford, DR. Correlation between environmental monitoring of thermophilic campylobacters in sewage effluent and the incidence of Campylobacter infection in the community. Journal of Applied Bacteriology 1990; 69: 235240.
49. Koenraad, P, et al. Survey of Campylobacter spp. in sewage plants in the Netherlands. Food Microbiology 1994; 11: 6573.
50. Wilson, IG. Airborne Campylobacter infection in a poultry worker: case report and review of the literature. Communicable Disease and Public Health 2004; 7: 349353.
51. Nelson, W, Harris, B. Campylobacteriosis rates show age-related static bimodal and seasonality trends. New Zealand Medical Journal 2011; 124: 3339.
52. Arsenault, J, et al. Environmental and demographic risk factors for campylobacteriosis: do various geographical scales tell the same story? BMC Infectious Diseases 2012; 12: 318.
53. Simonsen, J, Frisch, M, Ethelberg, S. Socioeconomic risk factors for bacterial gastrointestinal infections. Epidemiology 2008; 19: 282290.
54. Teschke, K, et al. Water and sewage systems, socio-demographics, and duration of residence associated with endemic intestinal infectious diseases: a cohort study. BMC Public Health 2010; 10: 767.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Epidemiology & Infection
  • ISSN: 0950-2688
  • EISSN: 1469-4409
  • URL: /core/journals/epidemiology-and-infection
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *



Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed