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Do contamination of and exposure to chicken meat and water drive the temporal dynamics of Campylobacter cases?

  • J. M. DAVID (a1) (a2) (a3), F. POLLARI (a4), K. D. M. PINTAR (a4), A. NESBITT (a4), A. J. BUTLER (a4) and A. RAVEL (a3)...


Campylobacteriosis, the most frequent bacterial enteric disease, shows a clear yet unexplained seasonality. The study purpose was to explore the influence of seasonal fluctuation in the contamination of and in the behaviour exposures to two important sources of Campylobacter on the seasonality of campylobacteriosis. Time series analyses were applied to data collected through an integrated surveillance system in Canada in 2005–2010. Data included sporadic, domestically-acquired cases of Campylobacter jejuni infection, contamination of retail chicken meat and of surface water by C. jejuni, and exposure to each source through barbequing and swimming in natural waters. Seasonal patterns were evident for all variables with a peak in summer for human cases and for both exposures, in fall for chicken meat contamination, and in late fall for water contamination. Time series analyses showed that the observed campylobacteriosis summer peak could only be significantly linked to behaviour exposures rather than sources contamination (swimming rather than water contamination and barbequing rather than chicken meat contamination). The results indicate that the observed summer increase in human cases may be more the result of amplification through more frequent risky exposures rather than the result of an increase of the Campylobacter source contamination.

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Corresponding author

*Author for correspondence: A. Ravel, Groupe de recherche en épidémiologie des zoonoses et santé publique et Département de pathologie et microbiologie, Faculté de médecine vétérinaire, 3200 rue Sicotte, Saint-Hyacinthe, Québec J2S 2M2, Canada. (Email:


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