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France reveals 2022 Campylobacter data

Santé Publique France has published details on Campylobacter infections in 2022, including 60 outbreaks.

Epidemiological surveillance findings are based on the National Reference Center (CNR) for Campylobacter and Helicobacter and mandatory declaration of outbreaks.

CNR data shows that 9,160 strains were identified as Campylobacter. Campylobacter jejuni was the most frequently identified species at almost 85 percent, followed by Campylobacter coli and Campylobacter fetus. Most strains were isolated from stools, and a few from blood samples.

A seasonal increase in isolations was observed during the summer period with a peak in August. This seasonality was also seen in previous years.

60 outbreaks; many linked to poultry Age at infection ranged from a few months to 102 years old, with a median of 27 years old. Incidence was highest for the under 1 to 9 year old age group. It was higher in men than in women. This trend was observed in all age groups, except among 20 to 29 year olds.

Infections by Campylobacter fetus were mainly reported in people aged 60 and over, while cases of Campylobacter jejuni were mostly in children and young adults younger than 30.

Information on a trip abroad in the 15 days preceding the onset of illness was specified for 49 percent of patients with 8 percent saying they had been abroad.

Sixty outbreaks were notified to Santé publique France with 321 patients. Nine outbreaks involved more than 10 patients. For 22 incidents, poultry consumption was the incriminated or suspected vehicle of contamination. In 2021, more than 50 outbreaks affecting 178 people were declared.

Resistance to ciprofloxacin, from the fluoroquinolone family, is almost as high for Campylobacter jejuni as for Campylobacter coli. Resistance to erythromycin is at a very low level for Campylobacter jejuni but slightly higher for Campylobacter coli. Resistance to tetracycline is at a very high level for Campylobacter coli. Very few strains were resistant to all five antibiotics tested.

Campylobacter has been increasing since 2013 when online data entry was introduced. Scientists said this could reflect an actual rise in infections or it may be because of other factors such as better detection methods.

At consumer level, the main risk factors for infection are handling fresh meat, cross-contamination of food from surfaces in the kitchen, and eating undercooked meat. Preventive measures are based on good hygiene practices in the kitchen such as handwashing, cleaning surfaces and utensils after handling poultry or raw meat, and cooking poultry, beef, and pork properly.

Focus on Campylobacter fetus Meanwhile, another study has looked at Campylobacter fetus in eastern France.

The study, published in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases , included adult inpatients with a confirmed Campylobacter fetus infection in Nord Franche-Comté Hospital, Trevenans, during January 2000 to December 2021.

Among 991 patients with isolated Campylobacter strains, scientists identified 39 with culture-positive Campylobacter fetus infections, of which 33 had complete records and underwent further analysis; 21 had documented bacteremia and 12 did not.

The highest incidence rate was noted in 2011. Patients with bacteremia were older than those without.

“In summary, we found that Campylobacter fetus bacteremia mainly affects patients who are elderly, are immunocompromised, or have underlying conditions. Infections are associated with high mortality rates, especially if no dual antimicrobial therapy including amoxicillin/clavulanic acid is prescribed,” said researchers.

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