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Campylobacteriosis: It's Causes, Effects and Treatment

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Introduction

Campylobacteriosis is a disease caused by the consumption of contaminated food and drinks. Campylobacteriosis is one of the most common gastroenteritis diseases (gastroenteritis is an intestinal infection with symptoms like diarrhoea, cramps, nausea, vomiting and fever  in Australia. It can give the infected individuals gastroenteritis, which is inflammation of the gut Campylobacteriosis is very similar to Salmonella. It is also a global cause of diarrhoeal diseases and is considered to be the most common bacterial cause for gastroenteritis .

What Is the Disease

Campylobactiosis is a disease that can be infected by animals, contaminated water, infected persons, household pets and even raw milk. It can be found in animal guts and faeces and is mainly found on raw poultry. All age groups can be affected by campylobacter but it mainly affects children under the age of 5 and young adults. People who are affected by campylobacter will experience diarrhoea, stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting and fever within 2 – 5 days and may last for 3 – 6 days. Luckily in most cases, recovery without treatment is possible.

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Campylobacter species are sensitive to the hydrochloric acid found in the stomach. The antacid treatment can reduce the amount of inoculum needed to cause illness. When the body is infected by campylobacter, the C. jejuni (Campylobacter Jejuni) appears in the body, it destroys the epithelial cells (epithelial cells are a type that appears flat and found in lining surfaces of the body. Mainly found on skin, blood vessels urinary tract and organs.

Ethical Issues

According to research, campylobacter jejuni, C. coli and non-jejuni/coli strains are affecting children in developing countries. The rate of the disease has been increasing worldwide. Campylobacteriosis is one of the most unique diseases making infants have diarrhoea in third-world countries. The general population for the first and third world countries are similar, approximately 90-10,000 making it clear that campylobacteriosis is a paediatric disease in developing countries.

Research has proven that campylobacteriosis is greater in developing countries than in developed countries. It has also proven that chicken and poultry are one of the main sources of campylobacteriosis infecting humans in both developed and developing countries. Campylobacteriosis in developing countries have been widespread and causes illnesses in infants and children due to the lack of education on hygiene and safety awareness on how to handle food. Developing countries do not have any surveillance programs to monitor the disease affecting people. However, surveillance programs are available for developed countries monitoring cases of the human campylobacteriosis and the outbreaks of the disease.

Social Perspective

The impacts of campylobacter range from mild to severe and can vary from person to person. Even though campylobacter is common amongst all age group, it commonly affects the very young children, elderly people and people with compromised immune systems. Even though most patients recover from Campylobacter infections within a few days, some start to develop a rare disease called Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS) which is where the immune system attacks the body’s nerves resulting to paralysis which can last for weeks or even years.

Campylobactiosis appears to be high-and-low-income countries. In high-income countries like Australia, America, England and Canada, the disease appears in all age groups but in the low-income countries like Timor, India, the Philippines and Cambodia, the disease appears mainly in children and young adults.

The global sharing of Campylobacter is attributed to symptomless colonization of the intestinal tract in a wide range of livestock species. Research has found that High-income countries involve practices during travel such as eating vegetable salad and raw and undercooked pork. However, with low-income countries, risk factors for campylobacter infection such as unfenced animal barriers, exposure to poultry manure and exposure to domestic animals have been examined.

Cultural Issues

Enable for developing countries to avoid and reduce campylobacter, following and adopting the new Codex Guidelines for the control of campylobacter and Salmonella which also helps manage the chicken meat traded internationally. In New Zealand, over a decade of research for their high reported rate of campylobacteriosis compared with other high-income countries have founded that the main transmission was from poultry meat.

Campylobacteriosis can also be caused by contaminated food which is a result from lack of sanitation. In Mexico City, samples were taken finding traces of campylobacter in the roasted chicken tacos. It was caused by cross-contamination or undercooking which is risky for consumers to eat especially from establishments that lack sanitation. Based from there sampling obtained by from the semi settled stand in Tacuba, they had found that 27% of the roasted chicken that were tested positive with campylobacter occurred through cross-contamination.

Economical Issues

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Economic Research service (ERS) published that the medical costs and productivity losses that Campylobacter infections caused each year ran from $907 million to over $1 billion. In England, a median estimate cost to patients and the health service between 2008 – 9 would be around £50 million ($89,007,722) for the case of Campylobacter infections.

Campylobacteriosis not only affects medical costs but also producers’ costs. UK farmers face difficulties in reducing the infected poultry (59% of campylobacteriosis found in raw chicken) in the shops. It is possible to reduce campylobacter bacteria from spreading but it will cost the farmers a large amount of money. One of the is giving vaccination for the poultries in the farm where it will be easier to control and reduce campylobacter disease from spreading which would cost $14.3 billion. Even though vaccinating may help control the disease, it cannot fully remove the bacteria found in poultry. So, the chickens may need to vaccinated more than once.

Possible Solutions

Simple things like washing hands after handling raw poultry, keeping food preparation areas clean, cooking foods at appropriate temperatures, being cautious when playing with animals and always wash hands after playing with the animals and avoid unpasteurized dairy products. Keeping certain food away from each other can also be effective to reduce the bacteria from spreading and making sure that kitchen utensils are cleaned before and after handling raw poultry.

Most people with campylobacter do not need specific treatment to recover. However, they must drink extra fluids for as long as their diarrhoea lasts. Unless symptoms worsen after 7 days or they have a weak immune system, then the patient will be prescribed with antibiotics like azithromycin, levofloxacin and ciprofloxacin. Properly handling of food supplies and utensils used are clean can help prevent campylobacteriosis from spreading. An effective way to eliminate campylobacter in the foods is to heat it or cooking it well.

Conclusion

Campylobacter is a disease caused from contaminated foods and unpasteurised milk. Symptoms like diarrhoea, vomiting, cramps and fever will last within 3 – 6 days. This disease is prevalent in developing countries where there is lack of funding, lack of education and resources, inept policy and legislation policies. Since campylobacteriosis is usually a self-treated disease, patients do not need to be prescribed with any medication but if the symptoms worsen and the days increase, then the doctor will prescribe the patient with antibiotics. Simple ways to avoid the disease from spreading is to wash hands before and after preparing meals especially with raw meat, clean utensils before and after preparing meals, avoid using unpasteurized dairy products and drink clean and sanitised water.

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