Campylobacter spp. is a commonly reported food-borne disease with major consequences for morbidity. In conjunction with predicted increases in temperature, proliferation in the survival of microorganisms in hotter environments is expected. This is likely to lead, in turn, to an increase in contamination of food and water and a rise in numbers of cases of infectious gastroenteritis. This study assessed the relationship of Campylobacter spp. with temperature and heatwaves, in Adelaide, South Australia.
We estimated the effect of (i) maximum temperature and (ii) heatwaves on daily Campylobacter cases during the warm seasons (1 October to 31 March) from 1990 to 2012 using Poisson regression models.
There was no evidence of a substantive effect of maximum temperature per 1 °C rise (incidence rate ratio (IRR) 0·995, 95% confidence interval (95% CI) 0·993–0·997) nor heatwaves (IRR 0·906, 95% CI 0·800–1·026) on Campylobacter cases. In relation to heatwave intensity, which is the daily maximum temperature during a heatwave, notifications decreased by 19% within a temperature range of 39–40·9 °C (IRR 0·811, 95% CI 0·692–0·952). We found little evidence of an increase in risk and lack of association between Campylobacter cases and temperature or heatwaves in the warm seasons. Heatwave intensity may play a role in that notifications decreased with higher temperatures. Further examination of the role of behavioural and environmental factors in an effort to reduce the risk of increased Campylobacter cases is warranted.