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Campylobacter fetus

Campylobacter fetus

Domain : Bacteria (bacteria)
Department : Proteobacteria
Class : Epsilonproteobacteria
Order : Campylobacterales
Family : Campylobacteraceae
Genre : Campylobacter
Scientific name
Sebald & Véron 1963

Campylobacter ( ancient Greek καμπὐλος kampylos = crooked, βακτήρια bakteria = stick) (occasionally also Camphylobacter ) is a genus of corkscrew-shaped (spirilla) bacteria that can cause diseases such as Campylobacter enteritis (campylobacteriosis). They are gram-negative , microaerophilic and polar flagellated . The generic name was created in 1963 by Sebald and Veron. In the past, representatives of the genus were referred to as “microaerophilic Vibrionen” and belonged to the family Vibrionaceae.

The genomes of the following species have been completely sequenced : Campylobacter concisus , C. curvus , C. fetus , C. hominis and C. jejuni


The cell size is in the range of 0.2-0.8 × 0.5-5 micrometers. They are either unipolarly flagellated with a single flagellum at one end or bipolarly flagellated at both ends of the cell. The cells can change from corkscrew-shaped to coccal-shaped during the course of culture. Most types of Campylobacter are catalase- and oxidase-positive , the catalase-negative include, for example, C. sputorum , C. concisus , C. mucosalis and C. helveticus . The medically important C. fetus subsp. fetus , C. coli , C. jejun subsp. jejuni are catalase positive.


The species of the genus Campylobacter are chemoorganotroph , namely nitrate breathers . This means that they have an oxidative energy metabolism and use nitrate as an oxidant instead of the oxygen (O 2 ) used in “normal” aerobic respiration . Electron donors are amino acids and intermediates of the tricarboxylic acid cycle that are oxidized by nitrate. Carbohydrates are not used.


Many species are pathogenic to humans, others are harmless and natural roommates of humans and various animals.

The pathogenic bacteria of the Campylobacter group belong to the group of zoonotic pathogens that are transmitted from animals to humans and can lead to disease there. They are also often found on raw poultry meat (as of 2017: contamination rate in the UK at 50%). In animals such as pigs or cattle, the disease often goes undetected because they usually show no symptoms . In the household, however, especially with poultry meat, good kitchen hygiene must be observed in order to avoid cross-contamination . The official food control in Germany therefore carries out epidemiological studies. She recommends consumers the products well durchzugaren . Manufacturers are encouraged to print appropriate preparation instructions in the interests of preventive product liability . Since January 1, 2018, there has been a legal obligation to inspect broilers within the European Union . However, slaughter hygiene conditions remain a matter of concern.

The pathogens C. jejuni and C. coli can cause inflammatory diarrhea in humans ( Campylobacter enteritis ). C. jejuni, along with salmonella, is one of the most common bacterial diarrhea pathogens. Diarrhea pathogens that are less important for humans are C. lari , C. fetus and C. upsaliensis . C. helveticus also occurs very rarely as a pathogen. Some species such as C. curvus , C. showae, and C. gracilis can be implicated in periodontal disease .

C. fetus (synonym: Vibrio fetus ) causes not only diarrhea in humans but also an enzootic Campylobacter abortion in cattle and sheep . C. hyointestinalis and C. mucosalis cause necrotizing enterocolitis in pigs.

Reporting requirement

In Germany, direct or indirect detection of enteric pathogenic Campylobacter sp. Specifically notifiable in accordance with Section 7 of the Infection Protection Act (IfSG), provided that the evidence indicates an acute infection. The obligation to notify primarily concerns the management of laboratories ( § 8 IfSG).

In Switzerland, the positive and negative laboratory results of Campylobacter spp. Notifiable for laboratories according to the Epidemics Act (EpG) in conjunction with the Epidemics Ordinance and Appendix 3 of the EDI Ordinance on the reporting of observations of communicable diseases in humans .


  • George M. Garrity : Bergey's Manual of Systematic Bacteriology . 2nd edition, Volume 2: The Proteobacteria. Part C: The Alpha-, Beta-, Delta-, and Epsilonproteabacteria . Springer, New York 2005, ISBN 0-387-24145-0 .
  • Werner Köhler (ed.): Medical microbiology. 8th edition, Munich / Jena 2001, ISBN 978-3-437-41640-8 .
  • Björn-Martin Werth: Comparative studies on rapid methods for the detection of thermophilic Campylobacter spp. in naturally and artificially contaminated poultry meat and offal as well as in poultry droppings. Mensch-und-Buch-Verlag, Berlin 2006, ISBN 3-86664-113-3 .

Individual evidence

  1. Why you shouldn't wash raw poultry after all. In: The world. September 12, 2017. Retrieved November 30, 2017 .
  2. ^ Matthias Adelmund: Frozen chickens contaminated with Campylobacter germs. In: September 4, 2017, accessed December 1, 2017 .
  3. Ute Messelhäußer: Always cook poultry meat well before consumption - research results 2008-2009. Bavarian State Office for Health and Food Safety (LGL) , June 20, 2018, accessed on November 19, 2019 .
  4. LADR informs: Obligation to test Campylobacter in broilers , edition 12/2017
  5. Zoonoses Monitoring 2018

Web links