Bookmark this page

View Printer Friendly PDF Printer Friendly PDF

Facts About...


What is it?

Campylobacter enteritis is a gastrointestinal illness caused by the Campylobacter bacteria. These bacteria are often the cause of traveller’s diarrhea.

Campylobacter enteritis is a reportable disease and must be reported to the Health Department.

How is it spread?

  • Person to Person or Animal to Person Contact

You can pass the bacteria from one person to another through poor food handling. You may also get it by not washing your hands after you touch your pets (e.g., puppies and kittens), wild animals or sick infants that have it.

  • Food

It is usually spread by eating food or water that has the bacteria in it. This can happen when bacteria from a person or animal get into the food or water. Unpasteurized milk, raw or undercooked poultry meat may also have it.

What do I look for?

You may start to feel sick 1 to 10 days (most often 2 to 5 days) after the bacteria gets into you. You can feel sick for several days to 2 weeks. You may have diarrhea (often bloody), stomach pain, fever, nausea, vomiting and feel tired.

How is it treated?

Usually, no treatment is required. However, if symptoms are really bad or go on for a long time, go see your doctor.

How can I protect myself?

  • Cook all your foods (that comes from animals) to 74°C (165°F) or greater, especially poultry, meat dishes and egg products. When you place them in your fridge, make sure it stays below 4°C (40°F). Hot foods should be kept at 60°C (140°F) or higher.
  • Clean and sanitize all surfaces and utensils after it touches raw food to stop the bacteria from getting to other food items (cross-contamination).
  • Drink and eat only pasteurized milk and dairy products.
  • Always drink water from a safe supply. If you have a private well, test the water for bacteria at least four times per year. The Health Department will give you sample bottles and help you understand the results.
  • Wash your hands well, with warm running water and soap, rubbing together for at least 15 seconds, after using the washroom, changing diapers, before eating and preparing foods.
  • If you handle live domestic animals or pets, be sure to wash your hands after handling these animals, for they too can carry Campylobacter. Puppies and kittens with diarrhea are common sources of infection.
  • If you are a food handler or care for children or hospitalized people, you should not work until 24 hours after you feel better.

More information can be obtained from

Durham Region Health Department, 905-723-3818 or 1-888-777-9613

October 11, 2017