Campylobacter: guidance, data and analysis

The symptoms, diagnosis, management and epidemiology of campylobacter.

Campylobacter causes food poisoning.

Two species of campylobacter, C. jejuni and C. coli, cause most infections. The bacteria live in the gastrointestinal tract of mammals including livestock and pets such as dogs and cats.

People often get C. jejuni and C. coli from:

  • raw or undercooked meat, especially poultry
  • unpasteurised milk
  • untreated water

For most infections, it’s difficult to trace it back to the exact source. Other causes include contact with pets that have diarrhoea or contact with livestock. Bacteria can also spread through poor hygiene in food preparation, for example, if you don’t wash your hands, you can spread bacteria from chicken to salads.

The incubation period is usually 2 to 5 days. But it can be as short as 1 day and up to 11 days.

Information about treating campylobacter is available from NHS.UK.


Travel-associated infections

Updates to this page

Published 2 July 2014
Last updated 30 April 2019 + show all updates
  1. Added 'Campylobacter infection: annual data' to the epidemiology section.

  2. Added Travel-associated Campylobacter 2014 report.

  3. First published.