Research – Risk factors for campylobacteriosis in Australia: outcomes of a 2018–2019 case–control study

BMC

Campylobacter kswfoodworld

Background

We aimed to identify risk factors for sporadic campylobacteriosis in Australia, and to compare these for Campylobacter jejuni and Campylobacter coli infections.

Methods

In a multi-jurisdictional case–control study, we recruited culture-confirmed cases of campylobacteriosis reported to state and territory health departments from February 2018 through October 2019. We recruited controls from notified influenza cases in the previous 12 months that were frequency matched to cases by age group, sex, and location. Campylobacter isolates were confirmed to species level by public health laboratories using molecular methods. We conducted backward stepwise multivariable logistic regression to identify significant risk factors.

Results

We recruited 571 cases of campylobacteriosis (422 C. jejuni and 84 C. coli) and 586 controls. Important risk factors for campylobacteriosis included eating undercooked chicken (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] 70, 95% CI 13–1296) or cooked chicken (aOR 1.7, 95% CI 1.1–2.8), owning a pet dog aged < 6 months (aOR 6.4, 95% CI 3.4–12), and the regular use of proton-pump inhibitors in the 4 weeks prior to illness (aOR 2.8, 95% CI 1.9–4.3). Risk factors remained similar when analysed specifically for C. jejuni infection. Unique risks for C. coli infection included eating chicken pâté (aOR 6.1, 95% CI 1.5–25) and delicatessen meats (aOR 1.8, 95% CI 1.0–3.3). Eating any chicken carried a high population attributable fraction for campylobacteriosis of 42% (95% CI 13–68), while the attributable fraction for proton-pump inhibitors was 13% (95% CI 8.3–18) and owning a pet dog aged < 6 months was 9.6% (95% CI 6.5–13). The population attributable fractions for these variables were similar when analysed by campylobacter species. Eating delicatessen meats was attributed to 31% (95% CI 0.0–54) of cases for C. coli and eating chicken pâté was attributed to 6.0% (95% CI 0.0–11).

Conclusions

The main risk factor for campylobacteriosis in Australia is consumption of chicken meat. However, contact with young pet dogs may also be an important source of infection. Proton-pump inhibitors are likely to increase vulnerability to infection.

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