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NAME Campylobacter jejuni
ACTUAL SIZE 2 micrometers long by 0.5 micrometers wide, which is about the dimensions of the average paperclip to a 1:25,400 scale.
WHERE IT LIVES Thrives in birds; spreads through raw and undercooked poultry, raw milk, and untreated water.
SYSTEM Gastrointestinal System
COMMONALITY About two million cases of diarrhea caused by Campylobacter bacteria are reported every year in the U.S.
SYMPTOMS Infection from Campylobacter jejuni causes diarrhea, cramping, abdominal pain, fever and nausea.
CURE Antimicrobial therapy is reserved for people with weakened immune systems. Everyday treatment includes drinking extra fluids until the diarrhea ceases.
Preventative measures include:
• Wash your hands and cooking surfaces. Sanitize things before they could potentially enter your body.
• Beware of undercooked, unpasteurized or otherwise unsanitary foods.
DEADLINESS/SEVERITY • Roughly 100 people die of Campylobacter bacteria each year—poses a threat to children and the elderly.
• No one likes running to the bathroom. Our microbe makes a great parent gift for your child suffering from diarrhea.
INFECTIOUSNESS • Very infectious—fewer than 500 Campylobacter jejuni bacteria are required to cause an infection!
• Usually occurs in single isolated cases; however, infection can happen to many people from the same source, for example, contaminated water!
HISTORY The first observance of Campylobacters occurred in 1886 by Escherich. However, the actual isolation of the Capylobacter bacterium did not occur until 1972, accredited to a handful of microbiologists from Belgium.
FASCINATING FACTS • One drop from uncooked meat has enough bacteria to cause an infection!
• Statistics show that infection from the Campylobacter jejuni occurs with much greater frequency during the summer months than the winter months.