Campylobacter jejuni is a type of bacteria. It’s appearance is screw-liked and slightly curved. This organism is a gram negative bacteria that is classified as a microaerophile. This means that the bacteria do best in environments without oxygen, but can also survive in the presence of small amounts of oxygen. This organism is usually carried by animals, and is often found in animal feces.
Since animals are the primary carriers of the bacteria, Campylobacter jejuni is classified as as zoonosis. Birds and cattle are the primary cattle. Since their waste is often used to fertilize crops, spreading the bacteria from the animal to humans is very common. Those who drink unpasteurized milk are at a greater risk for contracting Campylobacter and it is important to maintain proper hygiene standards when preparing food or working around animals that are possible carriers. One of the best preventative measures is to wash food before eating. While some grocery stores well prewashed produce, bacteria may still exist. Taking the time to wash lettuce, tomatoes, or anything else in the produce section is important to prevent contracting infection of the bacteria.
If an individual is infected with Campylobacter, he will experience inflammation of the digestive system, usually manifested by diarrhea, abdominal pain, and sometimes a slight fever. The disease will range from a day to a week. Since the disease is not particularly dangerous, the digestive system is able to expel it from the body and medical intervention is not usually needed.
In some rare cases, Campylobacter jejuni has been shown to cause Giullain-Barre syndrome, a disease that affects the peripheral nervous system. The signs are a weakness beginning in the extremities and working towards the trunk of the body. If a person has had digestive trouble and then experiences these symptoms, telling a doctor immediately is a good idea. This disorder can be treated and the majority of people who contract it will recover completely. This bacteria, while usually being harmless, can cause problems if carried to a human host which is why it is important to always follow proper hygiene procedures when preparing food.