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Campylobacter infection

Category: Illness or disabilities



Introduction and description


Campylobacter (meaning "curved bacteria") is a genus of Gram-negative bacteria. They typically appear comma or s-shaped, are motile and are able to move via unipolar or bipolar flagella. They generally survive in environments with low oxygen.  Although the symptoms of Campylobacter infections in infants were described in 1886 by Theodor Escherich, the genus was not described until 1963 and the organism was not isolated until 1972, as such most of the information concerning this bacteria is very new.

One of the illnesses they cause is called Campylobacteriosis, but the bacteria can cause quite a number of illnesses and diseases, which is why we have used the more general term of Campylobacter infection.

The incidence and prevalence of campylobacteriosis have increased in both developed and developing countries over the last 10 years. The dramatic increase in North America, Europe, and Australia is alarming, and data from parts of Africa, Asia, and the Middle East indicate that campylobacteriosis is endemic in these areas, especially in children. In addition to C. jejuni, there is increasing recognition of the clinical importance of emerging Campylobacter species, including Campylobacter concisus and Campylobacter ureolyticus. ….Overall, campylobacteriosis is still one of the most important infectious diseases that is likely to challenge global health in the years to come. PMID: 26062576

An estimated 2 million cases of Campylobacter enteritis occur annually in the USA, accounting for 5-7% of cases of gastroenteritis.  

About Campylobacter


Some species

At least a dozen species of Campylobacter have been implicated in human disease, with C. jejuni and C. coli being the most common.  The family is very well adapted to survive changes in environment. Recombination is a particularly strong evolutionary force in Campylobacter, leading to the emergence of new lineages and even large-scale genome-wide interspecies introgression between C. jejuni and C. coli

C. avium
C. butzleri
C. canadensis
C. cinaedi
C. coli
C. concisus
C. corcagiensis
C. cryaerophilus

C. cuniculorum
C. curvus C. fennelliae
C. fetus
C. gracilis
C. helveticus
C. hominis
C. hyoilei

C. hyointestinalis
C. insulaenigrae
C. jejuni C. lanienae
C. lari
C. mucosalis
C. mustelae
C. nitrofigilis
C. peloridis

C. pylori
C. rectus

C. showae
C. sputorum
C. subantarcticus
C. upsaliensis
C. ureolyticus
C. volucris

 Some example Campylobacter species that cause illness in humans include:

  • Campylobacter jejuni – causes enteritis.  Most strains of C jejuni produce the toxin cytolethal distending toxin see below.
  • Campylobacter coli – also causes enteritis and produces cytolethal distending toxin
  • Campylobacter fetus fetus - Most reported bacteremias have been due to Campylobacter fetus fetus infection.  Cytolethal distending toxin (CLDT) production by Campylobacter fetus subsp. fetus has been found in twenty-five of the 26 strains tested [PMID:  8357933]
  • Campylobacter lari, - which is found in ‘healthy seagulls’, has also been reported to produce mild recurrent diarrhoea in children. All three cytolethal distending toxin (cdt) genes may be functional [PMID: 22558801]
  • Campylobacter upsaliensis may cause diarrhoea or bacteremia.  C. upsaliensis in tests produced 64 to 2,340 times higher CDT titer in comparison to other campylobacters [PMID:  28202878]
  • Campylobacter hyointestinalis - Increasing numbers of Campylobacter hyointestinalis have been isolated from humans and animals with gastroenteritis, it too produces cytolethal distending toxin (CDT).   
  • Campylobacter rectus is implicated as a pathogen in chronic periodontitis, no papers as yet on CDT.

So from the above extracts from the papers, we can see that Cytolethal distending toxin is present in most species and strains and is thus a significant player in the activity of this family of bacteria.

Cytolethal distending toxin

Cytolethal distending toxin is the bacteria’s defence mechanism.  Superficially, CDT-producing bacteria attack the mucosal linings, such as those in the stomach and intestines.  CDT toxins are capable of directly damaging DNA in target cells.  But this damage to cells has a purpose.  CDT hinders the cells from dividing and activating the immune system. In other words CDT helps the bacteria to evade the immune system.  There is a reason why it should want to do this and it related to our normal intestinal flora:

Campylobacter as intestinal flora

The healthy human intestine is colonized by as many as 1014 bacteria belonging to more than 500 different species forming a microbial ecosystem of unsurpassed diversity, termed the microbiota. The microbiota's various bacterial members engage in a physiological network of cooperation and competition within several layers of complexity. Within the last 10 years, technological progress in the field of next-generation sequencing technologies has tremendously advanced our understanding of the wide variety of physiological and pathological processes that are influenced by the commensal microbiota. ………………..Interestingly, human enteric pathogens are part of a small group of bacterial families that belong to the Proteobacteria:

  • the Enterobacteriaceae (E. coli, Yersinia spp., Salmonella spp., Shigella spp.),
  • the Vibrionaceae (Vibrio cholerae) and
  • the Campylobacteriaceae (Campylobacter spp.).

In general, members of these families (be it commensals or pathogens) only constitute a minority of the intestinal microbiota. PMID:  26185088

Commensalism, in ecology, is a class of relationships between two organisms where one organism benefits from the other without affecting it.  Enteric here means native to the gastrointestinal tract - a natural part of the flora.  So what is being said here is that there are Campylobacter bacteria in our intestines already and they not only do no harm, they are a fundamental part - albeit a small part - of its working.

Campylobacteria in the mouth

There is a growing realisation that the mouth is just like the intestines and contains a very diverse flora of various sorts of bacteria:  Again the bacteria work together and do various jobs, keeping each other in balance. 

The purpose of this study was to determine the bacterial profiles in saliva of … children.. Collectively, 94 bacterial species or clusters representing six bacterial phyla and 30 genera were detected. ….The diversity of microbe within saliva derived from isolated population increased in caries-active status, … The imbalances in the resident microflora may be the ultimate mechanism of dental caries.  PMID: 22458262

In other words, just like the intestinal flora, disease occurs when imbalance in the delicate inter-relationship of bacteria occurs.  At the moment it is unclear whether Campylobacter are part of the flora or not.

Campylobacteria in other species


Campylobacter (C.) are ubiquitous in nature and in domestic animals .  Campylobacter organisms have a large animal reservoir, with up to 100% of poultry, including chickens, turkeys, and waterfowl having asymptomatic intestinal ‘infections’. The major reservoirs of C fetus are cattle and sheep and again with no symptoms.  In other words this bacteria is everywhere - in animals, birds and so on, but generally does no harm.

Infection is a meaningless word

In developing countries, Campylobacter ‘infection’, meaning presence, is very common in the first 5 years of life.  BUT, this so called infection is asymptomatic infection. In Bangladesh, up to 39% of all children younger than 2 years have asymptomatic ‘infection’

People are not ill from this bacteria, animals are not ill from it.  As in human beings, the bacteria is present as part of the intestinal flora of numerous animals.  Campylobacter bacteria are not inherently pathogenic, something is making them so.

Illness appears to occur when the Campylobacter bacteria are completely out of balance in the organism – too many or too few.

When there is a danger of there being too few, the remaining bacteria fight back using the toxin.  Thus Cytolethal distending toxin is only used when there is imbalance and there are not enough for the role they perform.  We make the somewhat tragic assumption that bacteria are ‘bad’, but it is clear that numerous bacteria in our body have an absolutely vital role – a role we do not understand.  It makes our attempts to kill them all the more ludicrous. 



We do not know the role of Campylobacter in the intestines or the mouth.  But we do know that if we overdose on them – so the delicate balance is disturbed in the intestines, we get campylobacteriosis


Diagnosis of campylobacteriosis is made by testing a specimen of faeces.  Symptoms of Campylobacter infection begin after an incubation period of up to a week.  It is characterized by inflammatory, sometimes bloody diarrhoea or dysentery, mostly including cramps, fever, and pain.  Symptoms typically last five to seven days.  Normally the body flushes the excess bacteria away and the person recovers. 


Campylobacter has also been associated with periodontitis, but because the work to map the mouth flora is still in its early phases, it is not clear whether it is causative or not. 

The aim of this cross-sectional study is to investigate whether there is a correlation between the results of different bacterial species in saliva and subgingival plaque samples from individuals with aggressive periodontitis (AgP) and chronic periodontitis (CP).  Whole saliva and subgingival plaque samples from the deepest pocket of each quadrant were collected from 43 patients with CP and 33 patients with AgP.  …. All bacterial species were detected in salivary and subgingival plaque samples.

  • Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans,
  • Porphyromonas gingivalis,
  • Treponema denticola,
  • Tannerella forsythia
  • Actinomyces viscosus,
  • Campylobacter rectus/showae
  • Prevotella intermedia
  • Parvimonas micra
  • Eubacterium nodatum, and
  • Campylobacter gracilis,

a significant positive correlation between salivary and subgingival plaque samples was detected in patients with both types of periodontitis. There were no significant differences in bacteria in salivary and subgingival plaque samples between AgP and CP.  PMID:  24144271



Illness occurs when the Campylobacter bacteria are completely out of balance in the organism  – too many or too few; we saw above what happens when too many enter the body, but despite the fact we do not know the role of Campylobacter in the intestines, we do know the bacteria fight back when they are in danger of being destroyed.  When there is a danger of there being too few, the remaining bacteria fight back using the toxin.  Thus Cytolethal distending toxin is principally used when there is a danger of destruction.  A symptom is the bloody diarrhoea.

Cytolethal distending toxin is the bacteria’s defence mechanism.  CDT-producing bacteria attack the mucosal linings, such as those in the stomach and intestines and hinders the cells from dividing and activating the immune system. In other words CDT helps the bacteria to evade the immune system.   But in doing so a long train of damage can result:

Intestinal disease and damage, IBS

The bacteria can damage the intestine.  The sites of tissue injury include the jejunum, the ileum, and can extend to involve the colon and rectum. The bacteria appears to invade and destroy epithelial cells, but it is the CDT that is the actual culprit released in defence.  Gastrointestinal perforation is thus a possible complication.  Campylobacteria appear to have no role in the rest of the body, and Epithelial tissues line the cavities and surfaces of blood vessels and organs throughout the body, as such potentially the bacteria is dangerous if it manages to reach the blood circulatory system, when it does, it is called Bacteremia. 


Bacteremia (also bacteraemia) is the presence of bacteria in the blood. Blood is normally a sterile environment, so the detection of bacteria in the blood (most commonly accomplished by blood cultures) is always abnormal.  And bacteremia caused by Campylobacteria has occurred, for example:

The cases of C. jejuni bacteremia were retrospectively reviewed during a twelve-year period in a single institute. C. jejuni was identified in 7 patients through blood cultures, PMID:  25175126

Heart disease and endothelial dysfunction

There are a growing number of cases like this one appearing on PubMed, as there is more recognition that the bacteria could be linked to heart disease:

A 43-year-old man with a history of hypertension presented to the ED with angina-like chest pain and a 3-day history of diarrhoea. …. Coronary angiogram revealed no obstructive coronary artery disease. … Cardiac magnetic resonance imaging showed subepicardial and mid-myocardial enhancement …. consistent with a diagnosis of myocarditis. Stool studies were positive for Campylobacter jejuni.  PMID:  24188611

Arthritis and other joint problems

Reactive arthritis (ReA) is a disorder characterized by inflammation of the joints and tissues occurring after gastrointestinal or genitourinary infections.  It indicates that the bacteria has probably reached and is attacking the joints:

Using standardized diagnostic criteria, we conducted a systematic literature review to establish the global incidence of ReA for each of the three most commonly-associated enteric pathogens:

  • Campylobacter,
  • Salmonella, and
  • Shigella.

The weighted mean incidence of reactive arthritis was 9, 12, and 12 cases per 1,000 cases of Campylobacter, Salmonella and Shigella infections respectively..  PMID:  24288942


Twenty seven of 173 (16%) patients with Campylobacter and 10/177 (6%) with E coli (ETEC) reported joint symptoms... In the Campylobacter group duration of diarrhoea was a median of 13 days for patients with arthralgia and seven days for those without joint pain. Patients with E coli had diarrhoea of longer duration than patients infected with Campylobacter (14 days v seven days). E coli patients had fewer gastrointestinal symptoms than Campylobacter patients. Fifty nine per cent of Campylobacter patients with joint pain had received antibiotic treatment because of enteritis compared with 26% with enteritis only. …..There was a significantly increased risk of developing joint symptoms after contracting Campylobacter infection compared with E coli. Campylobacter patients with joint pain had more severe gastrointestinal symptoms and longer duration of diarrhoea. Antibiotic treatment does not seem to prevent reactive joint symptoms.  PMID:  11959770

In fact from the statistics Antibiotic treatment would seem to increase the likelihood of getting joint pains, of which more shortly.

Guillain–Barré syndrome

In some cases, a Campylobacter infection can be the underlying cause of Guillain–Barré syndrome.

Campylobacter jejuni, from the delta-epsilon group of proteobacteria, is a microaerophilic, Gram-negative, flagellate, spiral bacterium-….. infection with C. jejuni is the most frequent antecedent to a form of neuromuscular paralysis known as Guillain-Barré syndrome.  PMID:  10688204

Septic abortion and premature birth

In contrast to the situation in cattle, goat and sheep, Campylobacter fetus subspecies fetus only rarely causes disease in humans. While a major inducer of septic abortion in animals, only a minority of clinical infections in humans are found during pregnancy.  However, it has happened

Eleven cases have so far been described in pregnant women. Clinical symptomatology is usually mild during gestation but often leads to premature labour. Here we present a multigravida with positive cultures for C. fetus who went into septic shock. She completely recovered after delivery of a C. fetus-infected fetus at 18 weeks' gestation …..  PMID:  8300253


Cavernous sinus thrombosis

Cavernous sinus thrombosis (CST) is the formation of a blood clot within the cavernous sinus, a cavity at the base of the brain which drains deoxygenated blood from the brain back to the heart. The cause is usually from a spreading infection in the nose, sinuses, ears, or teeth. Symptoms include: decrease or loss of vision, chemosis, bulging eyes, headaches, and paralysis of the cranial nerves which course through the cavernous sinus. This infection is life-threatening;

We report a case of cavernous sinus thrombosis in a 55-year-old Chinese man …. Campylobacter rectus was eventually isolated from the blood cultures.. PMID: 24842357

Skin diseases

Cellulitis is a bacterial infection involving the inner layers of the skin. It specifically affects the dermis and subcutaneous fat. The borders of the area of redness are generally not sharp and the skin may be swollen and this paper provides proof that it can be caused by Campylobacter bacteria

Reported here is the case of a 78-year-old, immunocompromised male patient with Campylobacter jejuni subsp. jejuni bacteremia complicated by cellulitis. The infection was characterized by a protracted course with several recurrences …...  PMID:  15338445

Brain damage

Once in the blood stream the bacteria can travel round the body.  We found no papers that implicated this bacteria in the destruction of the blood brain barrier – although this does not say it does not happen –but we did find evidence that those with a compromised BBB can be affected

We describe a case of acute transverse myelitis following Campylobacter diarrhoea in an adult. The patient presented with diplegia due to a longitudinal spinal cord lesion. The CSF demonstrated an aseptic meningitis. Oligoclonal bands and C. jejuni-specific IgG were detected in serum and cerebrospinal fluid at the beginning of the neurological illness. ….. C. jejuni is strongly implicated in the aetiology of acute motor axonal neuropathy and Miller Fisher syndrome through molecular mimicry of neuronal gangliosides. …. We conclude that disruption of the blood-brain barrier was the key event in the pathogenesis of immune mediated post-infectious myelitis in our patient.  PMID: 22133816

Disability and Death

Campylobacter infections can cause mortality and disability.  For example:

To estimate and compare disease burden attributable to six gastrointestinal pathogens (norovirus, rotavirus, Campylobacter, non-typhoidal Salmonella, Giardia, and Cryptosporidium) in Australia, 2010.  We estimated the number of
 - acute gastroenteritis (AGE) cases and deaths,
 - disability-adjusted life years (DALYs), and DALY/case for each pathogen.

…..We estimated 16,626,069 AGE cases in Australia in 2010 (population 22 million). Of the pathogens studied, most AGE cases were attributed to

  • norovirus (2,180,145),
  • Campylobacter (774,003), and
  • Giardia (614,740).

Salmonella caused the fewest AGE cases (71,255) but the most AGE deaths (90).

The DALY burden was greatest for Campylobacter (18,222 DALYs) and Salmonella (3,856 DALYs), followed by the viral and protozoal pathogens. ……… DALYs are considered most useful given the incorporation of morbidity, mortality, and sequelae.  PMID: 25281904



Generally speaking Campylobacter infection can be traced back to faecal-oral ingestion of contaminated food or water.  Foods implicated include raw or under-cooked poultry and other contaminated produce. For example:

A foodborne outbreak with 49 cases (22 culture positive for Campylobacter sp.) following a wedding party in the East of England was investigated. A retrospective cohort study identified an association between consumption of chicken liver pâté and infection with Campylobacter jejuni/coli. There was a statistically significant association between dose (amount of chicken liver pâté eaten) and the risk of disease ….The local authority found evidence that the preparation of chicken livers breached Food Standards Agency's guidelines. PMID: 23711104

Occasionally it can be traced to water supplies.  For example, in August 2016, an estimated 4,000+ residents of Havelock North, in New Zealand, a town with 13,000 or so residents, had gastric illness after the water supply was thought to be contaminated by Campylobacter.

But this is not the real cause.  If we are healthy individuals with a sound immune system this bacteria should prove no problem at all, after all it is everywhere and we have it within us.  No, something – agents – are destroying the balance of this bacteria.  As we said above illness is caused by imbalance – too many or too few – so what is the real cause of the problem?

Overall there are four main causes

  • Stress – and other negative emotions, which weaken the immune system and thus renders us unable to fight any excess bacteria that might arrive via contaminated food and water
  • Nutritional deprivation – which similarly weakens the immune system
  • Surgery   Removal of the gall bladder the source of bile acid, or surgery which damages our intestines, for example gastric band which reduces gut flora; or surgery which leaves us open temporarily to invaders, or plastic surgery.
  • Pharmaceuticals, toxins and heavy metals

The latter causes will now be explored in more detail.



Antacids and Proton Pump Inhibitors

Campylobacter is sensitive to the stomach's normal production of hydrochloric acid: as a result, the infectious dose is relatively high, and the bacteria rarely cause illness when a person is exposed to less than 10,000 organisms.  However, if people take antacid medication or proton pump inhibitors, they are at higher risk of contracting disease from a smaller amount of organisms, since this type of medication inhibits normal gastric acid.

The Netherlands saw an unexplained increase in campylobacteriosis incidence between 2003 and 2011, following a period of continuous decrease. We conducted an ecological study and found a statistical association between campylobacteriosis incidence and the annual number of prescriptions for proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), controlling for the patient's age, fresh and frozen chicken purchases (with or without correction for campylobacter prevalence in fresh poultry meat). The effect of PPIs was larger in the young than in the elderly. However, the counterfactual population-attributable fraction for PPIs was largest for the elderly (ca 45% in 2011) and increased at population level from 8% in 2004 to 27% in 2011. Using the regression model and updated covariate values, we predicted a trend break for 2012, largely due to a decreased number of PPI prescriptions, that was subsequently confirmed by surveillance data. Although causality was not shown, the biological mechanism, age effect and trend-break prediction suggest a substantial impact of PPI use on campylobacteriosis incidence in the Netherlands. We chose the ecological study design to pilot whether it is worthwhile to further pursue the effect of PPI on campylobacteriosis and other gastrointestinal pathogens in prospective cohort studies. We now provide strong arguments to do so.  PMID:  25139075


The Rotterdam Study is a population-based cohort study among 14,926 subjects aged 45 years and older with up to 24 years of follow-up. Analyses were performed with a generalized estimating equations method in participants who handed-in a diagnostic stool sample. …. A bacterial microorganism was isolated in 125 samples, whereas 1174 samples were culture negative. In the generalized estimating equations analysis, we found that participants with a bacterial gastroenteritis were more likely than controls to be current users of PPIs …. A considerably higher effect was observed …. using the total cohort as a reference in a nested case-control analysis. Current PPI therapy is associated with an increased risk of bacterial gastroenteritis. PMID:  26960438

Antibiotics in farming and medicine


Antibiotics are used in farming, and have been used completely indiscriminately by the medical profession.  They are used in farming to keep animals kept in inhumane conditions alive long enough so they can be sold as food, they are also used in farming to fatten animals – providing proof, if proof were needed, that antibiotics are implicated in obesity of people as well as animals.   They are used as a ‘preventative’, when they have no ability to prevent anything.  They are used for viral illnesses when they have no ability to tackle viruses.  The mis-use of antibiotics is probably one of the medical and farming profession’s most negligent acts.  Antibiotics destroy the balance of the intestinal flora and the mouth flora.  As such they can result in deficiency of Campylobacter bacteria or overdose.

An increasing number of human disease conditions, such as inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), type 2 diabetes, obesity, allergies and colorectal cancer are linked with altered microbiota composition. Moreover, a clearer picture is emerging of the composition of the human microbiota in healthy individuals, its variability over time and between different persons and how the microbiota is shaped by environmental factors (i.e., diet) and the host's genetic background.
A general feature of a normal, healthy gut microbiota can generate conditions in the gut that disfavour colonization of enteric [relating to or occurring in the intestines] pathogens. This is termed colonization-resistance (CR).
Upon disturbance of the microbiota, CR can be transiently disrupted, and pathogens can gain the opportunity to grow to high levels. This disruption can be caused by

  • exposure to antibiotics,
  • changes in diet,
  • application of probiotics and drugs, and
  • a variety of diseases.

Breakdown of CR can boost colonization by intrinsic pathogens or increase susceptibility to infections. One consequence of pathogen expansion is the triggering of inflammatory host responses and pathogen-mediated disease. PMID:  26185088

Nature has responded to crass incompetence on the part of farmers and medics by ensuring that gradually Campylobacter has become anti-biotic resistant.  It has done so remarkably quickly, probably indicating it is a very key species ecologically, if only we were prepared to be a bit more humble and do some research into how key it actually is:

…. Our aim was to identify agents that are potentially effective against multiresistant Campylobacter strains. The in vitro activities of 20 antimicrobial agents against 238 Campylobacter strains were analyzed ….These strains were selected from 1,808 Campylobacter isolates collected from Finnish patients between 2003 and 2005 ….. …. Of the 238 Campylobacter strains, 19 were resistant to erythromycin … All erythromycin-resistant strains were multidrug resistant, with 18 (94.7%) of them being resistant to ciprofloxacin …. The percentages of resistance to tetracycline and amoxicillin-clavulanic acid (co-amoxiclav) were 73.7% and 31.6%, respectively. ….Ten (52.6%) multiresistant strains were identified as being Campylobacter jejuni strains, and 9 (47.4%) were identified as being C. coli strains. These data demonstrate that ….. the macrolide-resistant Campylobacter strains were uniformly multidrug resistant. PMID:  20038624


Campylobacter fetus infections usually occur in immunodepressed patients …… fluoroquinolone resistance is continuously increasing.  PMID: 24637053


The isolates showed high levels of resistance to quinolone antibiotics and, in the case of C. coli, also to tetracycline and streptomycin.  PMID:  25412489


Immunosuppressants suppress the immune system, which must be one of the most bizarre actions the medical profession undertake.  Suppression of the immune system increases the risk of bacterial overdose and imbalance. 


Mouthwashes with antibacterial properties affect the mouth's natural protection causing imbalance.


Anti-emetics stop us vomiting out pathogens.  If we get an overdose of any bacteria and use anti-emetics, then the bacteria simply enters the stomach and intestines.

Anti-diarrhoea medication

Diarrhoea is the natural flushing mechanism of the body, enabling it to remove excesses of bacteria or other pathogens.  By using any medication that stops us pooing out pathogens we have effectively given them free access to do as much damage as they wish.


For example cough medicines or nasal sprays, that dry up a runny nose.  The runniness of noses and the sticky fluid used is designed to trap pathogens and prevent them from entering the body.  By using anti-histamines we remove our natural defences and pathogens can enter via the nose, affecting the nose and via the olfactory organs enter the brain


Diuretics are intended to flush water away from the body.  But that water may be needed and be being used to flush pathogens away.  The body may actually be storing water in cells in order to have enough supplies to do the flushing.  Use a diuretic and your oedema – a symptom after all not a cause – may appear to be better.  On the other hand, the pathogens now in your intestines may be breeding like crazy because the body has no water to flush them away.


Dental fillings

We fill our mouths full of heavy metals - amalgam is a mix of silver, tin, zinc, copper and of course the ultimate in heavy metals - mercury.  Mercury leaks from fillings and it interacts with gold, so if we have gold and mercury fillings together we have a really heady mix - literally as it generates an electric current likely to seriously affect the mouth biota.

Pesticides, insecticides, defoliants and herbicides

There are now very clear links between the use of pesticides, insecticides, herbicides and the sorts of defoliants used to harvest peas and potatoes on non organic farms; and the destruction of the intestinal flora of animals – including humans.  There is now a general consensus amongst the more responsible researchers, for example, that coeliac disease may be herbicide related.  There are a considerable number of published papers on this now, this is a recent one:

The gut microbiota: a major player in the toxicity of environmental pollutants? - Sandrine P Claus, Hervé Guillou & Sandrine Ellero-Simatos npj Biofilms and Microbiomes 2, Article number: 16003 (2016) doi:10.1038/npjbiofilms.2016.3

Exposure to environmental chemicals has been linked to various health disorders, including obesity, type 2 diabetes, cancer and dysregulation of the immune and reproductive systems, whereas the gastrointestinal microbiota critically contributes to a variety of host metabolic and immune functions.
We aimed to evaluate the bidirectional relationship between gut bacteria and environmental pollutants and to assess the toxicological relevance of the bacteria–xenobiotic interplay for the host. We examined studies using isolated bacteria, faecal or caecal suspensions—germ-free or antibiotic-treated animals—as well as animals reassociated with a microbiota exposed to environmental chemicals.
The literature indicates that gut microbes have an extensive capacity to metabolise environmental chemicals that can be classified in five core enzymatic families (azoreductases, nitroreductases, β-glucuronidases, sulfatases and β-lyases) unequivocally involved in the metabolism of >30 environmental contaminants.
There is clear evidence that bacteria-dependent metabolism of pollutants modulates the toxicity for the host. Conversely, environmental contaminants from various chemical families have been shown to alter the composition and/or the metabolic activity of the gastrointestinal bacteria, which may be an important factor contributing to shape an individual’s microbiotype.
…. pollutant-induced alterations of the gut bacteria are likely to contribute to their toxicity. In conclusion, there is a body of evidence suggesting that gut microbiota are a major, yet underestimated element that must be considered to fully evaluate the toxicity of environmental contaminants.


Avoid the causes

From the above you can see what causes the imbalances in this bacteria, thus you are in a position to be able to avoid these sources of illness.

Go organic

Consumption of organic foods may help to reduce exposure to toxins such as pesticide, antibiotic-resistant bacteria and the bacteria used in farming.

Avoid ‘infected’ areas [and people]

Travelling to Asia, Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean and Southern Europe significantly increases the risk of acquiring campylobacteriosis compared to travelling within Western Europe. Most responsible medical text books recommend that you not go abroad if you have chronic enteropathies, the following paper also identified the fact that the immune systems of people may be unable to deal with the more ‘exotic’ species:

We concluded that putative determinants of travel-related campylobacteriosis differ from those of domestically acquired infections and that returning travellers may carry several exotic strains that might subsequently spread to domestic populations even through limited person-to-person transmission. PMID: 23962634

In other words, avoid anyone who has been abroad for their holidays, to the places mentioned, as they may be carriers of ‘exotic species’ that you are not capable of fighting. 


A straight forward Campylobacter infection is usually self-limiting and, in most cases, symptomatic treatment by liquid and electrolyte replacement is enough in human infections.  It is exceptionally important that an overdose of this bacteria is flushed from the system, so a constant intake of water must be maintained.  On the other hand, any action that further disrupts the intestinal flora is not helpful, as such water intake must not be excessive.

NEVER us anti-diarrhoeal medication or pharmaceuticals.  The body must be allowed to flush the bacteria from the system, however inconvenient or embarrassing this may be.

There may be a case for helping to remove toxins from our system by using other bacteria, but it is most important that imbalance does not occur as a result of using other bacteria unwisely.  We consider the case to be unproven as yet, but it is important that the research is continued and known about:

Numerous pesticides are used in agriculture, gardening, and wildlife-control. Despite their intended toxicity to pests, these compounds can also cause harm to wildlife and humans due to their ability to potentially bioaccumulate, leach into soils, and persist in the environment. Humans and animals are commonly exposed to these compounds through agricultural practices and consumption of contaminated foods and water. Pesticides can cause a range of adverse effects in humans ranging from minor irritation, to endocrine or nervous system disruption, cancer, or even death. A convenient and cost-effective method to reduce unavoidable pesticide absorption in humans and wildlife could be the use of probiotic lactobacilli. Lactobacillus is a genus of Gram-positive gut commensal bacteria used in the production of functional foods, such as yoghurt, cheese, sauerkraut and pickles, as well as silage for animal feed. Preliminary in vitro experiments suggested that lactobacilli are able to degrade some pesticides. …A similar study is warranted to test if this approach can reduce pesticide absorption in vivo, PMID:  26123785


References and further reading

  • Vet Res. 2005 May-Jun;36(3):351-82. - Campylobacter. - Moore JE1, Corcoran D, Dooley JS, Fanning S, Lucey B, Matsuda M, McDowell DA, Mégraud F, Millar BC, O'Mahony R, O'Riordan L, O'Rourke M, Rao JR, Rooney PJ, Sails A, Whyte P.
  • Nature. 403 (6770): 665–8. doi:10.1038/35001088 -  "The genome sequence of the food-borne pathogen Campylobacter jejuni reveals hypervariable sequences".. Parkhill, J.; Wren, B. W.; Mungall, K.; Ketley, J. M.; Churcher, C.; Basham, D.; Chillingworth, T.; Davies, R. M.; Feltwell, T.; Holroyd, S.; Jagels, K.; Karlyshev, A. V.; Moule, S.; Pallen, M. J.; Penn, C. W.; Quail, M. A.; Rajandream, M-A.; Rutherford, K. M.; van Vliet, A. H. M.; Whitehead, S.; Barrell, B. G. (2000) PMID 10688204.
  • Clin Microbiol Rev. 2015 Jul;28(3):687-720. doi: 10.1128/CMR.00006-15.  Global Epidemiology of Campylobacter Infection.  Kaakoush NO1, Castaño-Rodríguez N1, Mitchell HM1, Man SM2.1 School of Biotechnology and Biomolecular Sciences, The University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW, Australia; 2 School of Biotechnology and Biomolecular Sciences, The University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW, Australia Department of Immunology, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Memphis, Tennessee, USA
  • J Med Microbiol. 2015 Oct;64(10):1124-34. doi: 10.1099/jmm.0.000145. Epub 2015 Jul 27.  A new variant of cytolethal distending toxin in a clinical isolate of Campylobacter hyointestinalis.  Samosornsuk W1, Kamei K2, Hatanaka N3, Taguchi T3, Asakura M3, Somroop S3, Sugimoto N3, Chaicumpa W4, Yamasaki S3.
  • Microbiol Spectr. 2015 Jun;3(3). doi: 10.1128/microbiolspec.MBP-0008-2014.  The Roles of Inflammation, Nutrient Availability and the Commensal Microbiota in Enteric Pathogen Infection.  Stecher B.

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