Human Campylobacteriosis is the leading zoonotic disease in Europe and in the US. In the EU, 246 571 confirmed cases have been reported in 2018, about 30.6% of these cases were hospitalised. The number of reported deaths attributed to campylobacteriosis increased from 25 deaths in 2014 to 60 deaths in 2018, resulting in an EU case-fatality rate of 0.03%. Campylobacter cases are acknowledged to be underreported; true numbers of clinical campylobacteriosis are estimated to lie at 9 million per year. In the US more than 2.4 million cases are reported annually with several hundred fatalities. Worldwide, Campylobacter infections cause about 400 million cases of diarrhoea annually. The WHO estimates that 1% of the population contract campylobacteriosis each year. The costs of campylobacteriosis to public health systems and to lost productivity  is estimated to be around EUR 2.4 bn a year in the EU and around USD 1.8 bn in the USA.

The disease causes fever and diarrhoea, requiring medical treatment and hospitilization in about 10% of cases. About 1% of documented Campylobacter cases (about 0.1% of Campylobacter cases overall) are associated with  severe complications, such as arthropathies, abortion and neuropathological symptoms (Guillan Barré Syndrome).

Contaminated poultry meat represents a major source for human infection. Current approaches for reduction of Campylobacter prevalence in poultry on a farm level or surface decontamination of poultry meat after slaughter are not efficient.

A vaccine against Campylobacter does not exist, but represents a major unmet industrial need. To date, the high variability of Campylobacter (at least 17 species) prevents a universal vaccine against all species.

We have designed a live, oral Campylobacter vaccine using a Salmonella based glycoconjugate for use in broiler chickens.


Further disease information

In humans, Campylobacter is the most commonly reported bacterial cause of gastroenteritis worldwide, with C. jejuni causing the majority of infection, followed by C. coli, and C. lari. The infective dose of these bacteria is generally low. The incubation period averages from 2 to 5 days. Patients may experience mild to severe symptoms. Common clinical symptoms are watery to bloody diarrhoea, abdominal pain, fever, headache and nausea. Usually, infections are self-limiting and last only a few days. Infrequently, extraintestinal infections or post-infection complications such as reactive arthritis and neurological disorders occur. C. jejuni has become the most recognized antecedent cause of Guillain-Barré syndrome, a polio-like form of paralysis that can result in respiratory failure and severe neurological dysfunction and even death.

According to EFSA (European Food Safety Authority), clinical cases of campylobacteriosis is underreported in the EU; there may be not less than 2 million and possibly as high as 20 million cases of clinical campylobacteriosis per year. In the USA, more than 10`000 cases of campylobacteriosis are reported each year to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), approximately 6 cases for each 100`000 persons in the population. However, many more cases remain undiagnosed or unreported. Estimates are that Campylobacter causes more than 2 million illnesses (or 1% of the population), 13`000 hospitalizations, and over 100 deaths each year in the USA. The high numbers of Campylobacter cases are frequently associated with very large on costs, such as medical expenses, lost wages, product recalls, legal costs, and other indirect expenses. Estimates are that each case of campylobacteriosis costs $920 mainly due to medical and productivity expenses with an annual total cost of almost $1billion. As a result of campylobacteriosis, substantial worldwide losses are accumulated annually.

Campylobacter are widespread in nature. The principal reservoirs are the alimentary tract of wild and domesticated birds and mammals. They are prevalent in food animals, such as poultry, cattle, pigs and sheep, in pets, including cats and dogs, in wild birds and in environmental water sources. Animals, however, rarely succumb to disease caused by these organisms. Campylobacter are commensal organisms for animals.

Contaminated poultry meat is considered to be a major source of infection for humans, which may be partly due to the high bacterial load amongst live birds and the automation of the slaughter process. The intestinal tract of chicken, especially the cecum and colon, can harbor a large number of Campylobacter bacteria. During processing, the intestinal tract may leak or rupture and the contents are transferred to the skin of the carcass. Typically, Campylobacter spreads rapidly through an intensively reared broiler flock within a matter of days. Coprophagy and chicken to chicken transmission via the fecal-oral route increases the dissemination of the organism. It is possible to reduce colonization of some housed flocks using strict biosecurity measures, but Campylobacter can frequently be isolated from such flocks during transport, or from carcasses contaminated in the abattoir. It is not possible to use the same control measures for free-range and organically reared flocks.


Photo Campylobacter


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