Campylobacter jejuni

Campylobacter jejuni

Compiled By: Julie A. Albrecht, Ph.D., Associate Professor

The Organism: Campylobacter jejuni is a bacteria found in the intestinal tract of animals and poultry. The organism is sensitive to oxygen, drying, freezing, salting, and acid conditions. Campylobacter jejuni can produce a heat-labile toxin. This organism is very fragile outside of the body which makes it easy to control with proper food handling practices.

PDF Fact Sheet

Sources of the organism:

Normal microflora of most animals and poultry
Contaminated water
Infected pets

Associated foods:

Raw meat (beef, pork, mutton)
Unpasteurized milk

Microorganism Characteristics:

Gram negative microaerophilic curved or
S shaped rod

Growth conditions:

Temperature range: 30-50°C (86-122°F)
Optimum Temperature: 42°C (108°F)
pH range: 4.9-9.0
Optimum pH: 6.5-7.5
Oxygen Requirement: 3-5%
Carbon Dioxide Requirement: 2-10%
Optimum Requirements: 5% Oxygen, 10% Carbon Dioxide, 85% Nitrogen
Salt Tolerance: 1.0%

The Disease: Campylobacterosis is an invasive gasteroenteritis in humans. Long term effects of this foodborne illness can be Guillain-Barre syndrome.

Symptoms include:

Abdominal cramps
Watery and occasionally bloody stools

Onset time:

2-3 days

Infective Dose:

400-500 cells need to be consumed for some to become ill; Higher numbers of cells are needed for others. Host susceptibility dictates infectious dose.

Duration of symptoms:

7-10 days


  • Thoroughly cook meat, poultry and fish.
  • Proper sanitation of food contact surfaces and utensils.
  • Proper hand washing after handling raw meat, poultry and seafood .
  • Use pasteurized milk.
  • Use a safe water supply.