A 12-month survey on the incidence of campylobacter infection in 1217 patients with diarrhoea was carried out in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Campylobacters were isolated from 55 (4·5%) patients, second in prevalence to salmonellas (6·2%). Shigellas were isolated from 4·2% of patients. Campylobacter isolation rates were high in children of all ages, as well as in young adults (36·5% of all isolates were from adults aged 20–39 years). Isolation rates peaked in September and November. Analysis of the results showed that 69% were Campylobacter jejuni (mostly biotype IV) and 31% C. coli. Serogroups 5 and 23 (Penner scheme) and phage type 125 (Preston scheme) were most frequently isolated. Resistance to erythromycin and tetracycline was observed in 7·3 and 32·7% of the isolates. Campylobacters are an important cause of bacterial enteritis in Saudi Arabia, both in adults and in children, and should be sought routinely.
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