Campylobacteriosis is spread by the fecal-oral route. Fecal material from infected humans or animals can get into our mouths by:
- consuming contaminated food or drink
- contact with the feces of infected humans that is not followed by proper hand washing
- contact with the feces of domestic or wild animals, including pets and farm animals, that is not followed by proper hand washing. Pets may also have fecal matter on their hair or fur that is transferred to our hands when we touch them.
Campylobacter live in the intestines of many animals including chickens, cows, pigs, sheep, dogs, cats and humans. When animals are slaughtered for food, bacteria from an animal’s intestines may contaminate the meat that we consume.
Common sources of infection are undercooked chicken and meats, unpasteurized milk and other fecally contaminated food and water. During food preparation, bacteria can be transmitted from contaminated foods to other foods or surfaces in the kitchen. This is called cross-contamination. It is especially dangerous if foods that are meant to be consumed uncooked, such as fresh fruits or vegetables, are cross-contaminated. An example of this would be cutting raw meat on a cutting board and then cutting vegetables on the same board without washing and sanitizing the board in between.
Drinking water can be contaminated if humans or animals leave their droppings in or near surface water sources such as streams, rivers, lakes or shallow wells and this water is not adequately treated