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Common source outbreaks of Campylobacter infection in the USA, 1997–2008

  • E. V. TAYLOR (a1), K. M. HERMAN (a2), E. C. AILES (a3), C. FITZGERALD (a2), J. S. YODER (a2), B. E. MAHON (a2) and R. V. TAUXE (a2)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 15 August 2012

Campylobacter is a common but decreasing cause of foodborne infections in the USA. Outbreaks are uncommon and have historically differed from sporadic cases in seasonality and contamination source. We reviewed reported outbreaks of campylobacteriosis. From 1997 to 2008, 262 outbreaks were reported, with 9135 illnesses, 159 hospitalizations, and three deaths. The annual mean was 16 outbreaks for 1997–2002, and 28 outbreaks for 2003–2008. Almost half occurred in warmer months. Foodborne transmission was reported in 225 (86%) outbreaks, water in 24 (9%), and animal contact in seven (3%). Dairy products were implicated in 65 (29%) foodborne outbreaks, poultry in 25 (11%), and produce in 12 (5%). Reported outbreaks increased during a period of declining overall incidence, and seasonality of outbreaks resembled that of sporadic infections. Unlike sporadic illnesses, which are primarily attributed to poultry, dairy products are the most common vehicle identified for outbreaks.

Corresponding author
*Author for correspondence: Dr E. V. Taylor, Enteric Diseases Epidemiology Branch, Division of Foodborne, Waterborne, and Environmental Diseases, 1600 Clifton Rd. NE, MS C-09, Atlanta, GA 30333, USA. (Email:
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