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What are the symptoms of campylobacter infection?

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Quick Answer

Symptoms of a campylobacter infection include abdominal pain and cramping, fever and intense diarrhea that start within a few days after becoming infected with the bacterium, states the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Other possible symptoms include vomiting and nausea.

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Full Answer

Most people who become infected with campylobacter show only mild symptoms, and some are asymptomatic. However, those who have weakened immune systems, the elderly and infants are more susceptible to life-threatening complications from the infection, according to the World Health Organization.

Campylobacter primarily spreads through contaminated milk or water and undercooked meats, notes the World Health Organization. Campylobacter strains have been found in pork, shellfish and beef products. In order to kill the bacterium, food must be thoroughly cooked. Individuals preparing food should follow proper food safety hygiene such as washing their hands with soap and water and washing cooking utensils after each use in order to stop the spread of any foodborne bacteria, states FoodSafety.gov.

In most cases of campylobacter infection, medical treatment is not necessary, according to the World Health Organization. When an infection is more severe, a physician may prescribe antimicrobial medications such as tetracycline or erythromycin to treat the condition.

Recovery time for most infected individuals is between two and five days, and in some cases, the infection may take up to 10 days to clear, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, rare long-term conditions of arthritis and Guillain-Barre syndrome, a disease that targets the nerves, resulting from campylobacter infection have also been reported.

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