Bacterial Disease - Campylobacteriosis

Synonyms Traveler's diarrhoea.


Campylobacteriosis is a venereal disease causing infertility, repeat breeding, abortion in early stages of pegnancy, and gastrointestinal problems in cattle, sheep, goats and humanbeings.


Campylobacter and Arcobacter are now included in the family campylobacteriaceae.

It has been identified that C.jejuni and C.coli is responsible for >95% of campylobacter infections.

However, C.upsaliensis, C.lari, C..fetus subsp fetus, C.fetus subspecies venerealis, C.jejuni have been isolated from human patients with diarrhoea.

Prevalence of infection

Out breaks occurs following introduction of infected bulls or cows into the breeding farms and the presence of increased number of estrus cows in the herd.

Prevalence has reported in human and poultry but the rate of prevalence varies between countries and regions.

Prevalence mostly seen in dairy cattle.

Predisposing factors

Contaminated soil and housing environment

Introduction of infected carriers.


Source of infection

Both young and older bulls have been identified as carriers for upto 18 weeks post infection, but older bulls are remaining as permanent carrier that has been attributed to the highest proliferation of C. fetus in the major site of epithelial crypts of the penis, in contrast, C.fetus concentration is very less in preputial fluid.

Environment - soil, air, water (swimming water, recreational streams, disinfected effluent, puddles, pond water, surface waters), protozoans, wild birds and wildlife

Environmental contamination of pen, farm equipment.

Infected eggs, hatchery waste and poultry house litters.


Spread of infection occurs during coitus from infected cow to bull and vice versa.

Bulls below five years of age rarely infected.

Host affected

Cattle are highly susceptible for venereal campylobacteriosis as compared to sheep and goats.

Sheep and goats affected by reproductive and gastrointestinal form of campylobacteriosis.

Human affected by gastrointestinal and nervous form of infection.

Poultry species are affected mainly with gastrointestinal form of infection.

Domestic and farm animals including pet dogs and cats, wild birds, farm animals (cattle, sheep, pigs, ducks, turkeys).

Insects (beetles, flies).

Rodents (mice, rats).

Clinical Signs

Bovine campylobacteriosis

It is mainly characterized by infertility, repeat breeding, early embryonic deaths, increased conception rate and abortion in the late pregnancy.

Reddening of cervix and extension of mild mucopurulent exudate from uterus into cervix and vagina occurs

In contrast, infected heifers which have natural immunity quickly conceive, but remain as carrier for months.

Subacute or chronic form

Moderate problems may develop but resistant to infection due to an anamnestic immune response, whereas the newly introduced. Susceptible females develop more acute form of disease.

Highly susceptible animals show high prevalence and cause abortion.

In poultry

C.jejuni in poultry is invasive in nature.

Watery droppings, soiling of vent and feathers.

In severe cases blood spots in droppings.

Dehydration, depression, and death noticed.


In India, Campylobacter fetus subspecies jejuni was isolated from 14.8% of healthy population in rural South India.

It produces traveller diarrhea in human beings.


Based on clinical signs and necropsy findings.

Isolation and identification of organism.

Serum agglutination, cervical mucus agglutination, fluorescent antibody and culture tests have been used, however each tests has certain limitations.

Serum agglutination (SA) test

It is not a reliable test and and antibodies are rarely found in the blood stream.

Cervical mucus agglutination test: (CMA)

It is a convenient and accurate method for herd level bovine campylobacteriosis, though this test is widely used there is a chances for false positive (Metestral bleeding or rough manipulation of the vagina during collection) and false negative (when cervical mucus dilutes the agglutinins) results.

It takes 60 days following infection for the mucus to become positive on test. In individual animals the stage of estrus cycle and the time of exposure to the disease must be known to identify the infection. Around ten (selected) to twenty animals are enough to diagnose at farm level.

Fluorescent antibody test used to detect antibody.

Sample collection

Cervical mucus, reproductive discharges, aborted materials, blood and serum.

Differential diagnosis

Infectious bovine rhinotracheitis.






Macrolide antibiotics (erythromycin, clarithromycin, or azithromycin) are the most effective drugs for Campylobacter jejuni.

Fluoroquinolone antibiotics (ciprofloxacin, levofloxacin, gatifloxacin, or moxifloxacin) can also be used, but the organism is resistant to drugs.


In systemically immunized cattle IgG found in the uterus and cervicovaginal area is adequate enough to protect at the time of exposure.

When the serum antibody titer decrease the immunity also may be expected to decrease, so that reinfection occurs after vaccination and produce systemic anamnestic response. However, once the disease is established in the farm/herd animal will be immune to the infection and they resume the normal status.

The use of artificial insemination is successful in dairy herds. Vaccination is important for prevention of the disease. Vaccination of breeding herd twice prior to the breeding season to increases the high serum IgG titre is imperative. Single vaccination at 2 months prior to breeding is a failure to mount good immune status. Because serum antibody titre decreased rapidly after vaccination and therefore annual booster vaccine is recommended. Both males and females require vaccination.


Biosecurity: Proper disinfection of AI equipment with 1% sodium hypochlorite, 70% ethanol, 2% glutaraldehyde, Iodine based disinfectants, phenolic disinfectants, or formaldehyde is efffective. Treatment with moist heat at 121 degree celcius for at aleast 15 min or dry heat at 160-170 degree celcius for at least 1 hour will inactivate C.fetus subsp. venerealis which is also sensitive to gamma irradiation and UV radiation.

International Trade and BVC: In most countries, the import and export of cattle infected with C.fetus subsp. venerealis is prohibited. The guidelines on semen export require that the bulls involved are C.fetus subsp. venerelais negative. In the European Union all bulls used for AI should be tested and free from campylobacteriosis in order to be licenced.

Hand washing/sanitising on entry to broiler shed.

Personnel hygeine.

Access should be prevented between pets, livestock to the area surrounding the broiler sheds.

Hygiene barriers to be constructed in all sheds.

Avoid overcrowding in the sheds.

Sanitation of water supply.

Monospecific farms.

Improved cleaning and disinfection of sheds or extended breaks between flocks.

Control of beetles

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