France – Report on surveillance of Campylobacter infections in France in 2020.

Sante Publique

Key points

In 2020, surveillance of Campylobacter infections confirmed the epidemiological and biological trends already observed in recent years: 

  • a predominance of the species C. jejuni ;
  • higher number of cases and incidence in children;
  • a predominance of infections in men, except in people aged 30 to 39;
  • a seasonal peak during the summer period;
  • high resistance to fluoroquinolones and tetracyclines, which has remained stable in recent years;
  • no notable increase in the resistance rates of the six antibiotics tested routinely;
  • the consumption of poultry as the first food (incriminated or suspected) source of contamination in episodes of collective food poisoning.

The number of Campylobacter strains listed by the CNR has been increasing since 2013, the year in which the network’s laboratories introduced online data entry. This increase could be a reflection of an increase in Campylobacter infections in France. However, this increase in the number of strains must be considered within the framework of the specificities of the surveillance system. Several factors, such as an increase in the activity of the network’s laboratories or prescriptions for stool cultures, could cause an increase in the number of isolations and notifications over time. The implementation of multiplex PCR in many laboratories has also facilitated the detection of Campylobacter sp in stool samples.

The health context linked to the COVID-19 pandemic does not seem to have had an impact on the surveillance data. A decrease in the number of strains compared to previous years was observed only in March-April 2020, corresponding to the period of the first confinement. This reduction seems to reflect less recourse to care (medical consultation, biological analyses) during this period, but could also indicate a reduction in the incidence linked to health restrictions.

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