Updated Online - Monthly Reportable Diseases Summary - Featuring Campylobacter

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Monthly Reportable Diseases Summary 

Communicable diseases are reported to the Ottawa County Department of Public Health for surveillance and investigation to prevent their spread. The data in the monthly disease reports are subject to change, as they are based on current reports in the Michigan Disease Surveillance System (MDSS) The MDSS is a dynamic, continually active system; counts of disease are constantly changing as cases are investigated, confirmed as cases, or ruled out as not meeting the case definition. Each monthly disease report reflects this constant activity as the numbers may slightly fluctuate each month. Therefore, keep in mind that numbers in the monthly disease reports are NOT final and should be used only to generally monitor trends over time. Unknown, suspected, probable and confirmed cases of the reportable condition are included in the report. Questions on this report should be directed to Derel Glashower or Derick Chia.


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Campylobacter infection or campylobacteriosis is a diarrheal illness caused by Campylobacter bacteria. It is the most common bacterial cause of diarrheal illness in the United States. Most cases are not part of recognized outbreaks and more cases occur in the summer than in the winter. People can get infected with Campylobacter by eating raw or undercooked poultry or eating something that touched it. Campylobacter illness can also be caused by eating other foods contaminated by bacteria including seafood, meat and produce, by contact with animals and by ingesting contaminated water. 




Symptoms usually begin two to five days after the person gets infected with campylobacteriosis and can last one week. Possible signs and symptoms of campylobacteriosis can include:

  • Diarrhea, which may be bloody
  • Stomach cramping 
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain 
  • Fever 
  • Nausea  

Often, people recover on their own, but some may need antibiotic treatment. Sometimes, Campylobacter infections can cause complications, such as irritable bowl syndrome and arthritis. In rare cases, Campylobacter can cause a life-threatening condition called Guillain-Barré Syndrome

Campylobactor Activity in Ottawa County

In Ottawa County, a total of eight cases of Campylobacter were reported in June of 2022, bringing this year's total to 26 cases, slightly over the average number of cases reported through June across the previous three years (22 cases). Seasonal increases are expected in the coming months because campylobacteriosis and other foodborne illnesses occur more frequently in the summertime. It's important to take measures to ensure food safety and safe animal handling. 



It's important to take precautionary measures to prevent Campylobacter infection. These steps include:

  • Wash your hands before you eat, after you use the toilet or change a diaper, handle raw meat or poultry, touch pets or other animals and their habitats, treat a cut or wound and after you cough or sneeze.
  • Keep food items and utensils separate to prevent cross-contamination. 
    • If possible, have two cutting boards in your kitchen - one for raw meat and the other for fruits and vegetables. 
    • Never place cooked food on an unwashed plate that previously held raw meat. 
    • Wash food preparation surfaces thoroughly with soap and water. 
  • Cook and store food properly. Be extra careful with poultry, which is one of the top causes of campylobacteriosis in the United States. Poultry includes chicken, turkey, duck, goose, and other farmed birds. 
    • Store raw meat, poultry and seafood away from produce and other ready-to-eat food in your refrigerator. 
    • Wash all fruits and vegetables thoroughly.  
    • All poultry and foods containing poultry, should be cooked to reach a minimum internal temperature of 165°F. 
    • If you are served poultry that appears to be undercooked in a restaurant, send it back for further cooking.
    • If you have a concern about a food service establishment in Ottawa County, please submit a complaint to our Department. Report your complaint here
  • Drink pasteurized milk. Raw or unpasteurized milk can carry Campylobacter and other harmful germs that can make you sick. 
  • Do not drink untreated water. 
    • Do not drink untreated water from a stream, river, pond, or lake. 
    • Avoid contact with recreational water that may be contaminated. 
    • Be sure that wells are located a safe distance from possible sources of contamination, such as septic tanks, livestock and manure.
    • If you have a septic tank or well, have it inspected regularly to ensure that it is functioning properly. 
  • Take care of your pets. Some pets, including cats, dogs and pigs, can carry Campylobacter bacteria and other germs.
    • Wash your hands after handling pets or farm animals.
    • Take your pet to the vet if they appear tired, do not eat, have diarrhea, or struggle to breathe. 
    • Don't touch your mouth or nose after playing with animals.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Campylobacter infection is diagnosed with a laboratory test that detects Campylobacter bacteria in a person's stool, body tissue or fluids. The test could be a culture or a rapid diagnostic test that detects the bacteria. 

Most people recover from Campylobacter infection without antibiotic treatment. Patients should drink extra fluids as long as diarrhea lasts. Those who are 65 years or older, or pregnant, or who have weakened immune systems (such as someone with a blood disorder, AIDS or who is receiving chemotherapy) may be at higher risk for severe illness. If you have Campylobacter and need antibiotics, talk to your health care provider to determine which types of antibiotics would be the most effective for you. 


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