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Temperature dependence of reported Campylobacter infection in England, 1989–1999

  • C. C. TAM (a1) (a2), L. C. RODRIGUES (a2), S. J. O'BRIEN (a3) and S. HAJAT (a4)

Campylobacter is the most common bacterial cause of gastroenteritis in England and Wales, with 45 000 cases reported annually. Campylobacter incidence is highly seasonal; the consistent peak in late spring suggests a role for meteorological factors in the epidemiology of this organism. We investigated the relationship between ambient temperature and Campylobacter enteritis using time-series analysis to study short-term associations between temperature and number of Campylobacter reports adjusted for longer-term trend and seasonal patterns. We found a linear relationship between mean weekly temperature and reported Campylobacter enteritis, with a 1°C rise corresponding to a 5% increase in the number of reports up to a threshold of 14°C. There was no relationship outside this temperature range. Our findings provide evidence that ambient temperature influences Campylobacter incidence, and suggest that its effect is likely to be indirect, acting through other intermediate pathways.

Corresponding author
*Author for correspondence: C. C. Tam, M.Sc., Environmental and Enteric Diseases Department, Communicable Disease Surveillance Centre, Health Protection Agency Centre for Infections, 61 Colindale Avenue, LondonNW9 5EQ, UK. (Email:
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Epidemiology & Infection
  • ISSN: 0950-2688
  • EISSN: 1469-4409
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