Published: 09.02.05 Updated: 09.02.2005 18:07:50


Campylobacteriosis is a notifiable disease in the entire region. In Northwest Russia, presence of campylobacter is rarely looked for in faecal samples from symptomatic patients. Thus, less is known of the true incidence of the disease in these areas. All the countries, expect Northwest Russia, report only laboratory confirmed cases. In Northwest Russia, cases epidemiologically linked to a laboratory confirmed case are also reported.

Figure 16. Number of cases of campylobacteriosis notified in 2003 per 100 000 population (1).


Campylobacteriosis is a growing problem in the region, and since the late 1990s campylobacter has surpassed salmonella as the most common cause of bacterial enteritis in the Nordic countries. The vast majority of the cases are caused by Campylobacter jejuni. In Finland, Norway and Sweden, about half of the cases reported in 2003 were acquired abroad, while in Denmark and Iceland respectively 30% and 38% were acquired abroad. Since the early 1990s an increase of domestically acquired cases has been observed in the Nordic countries. The reason for this is mostly unknown, but consumption of poultry products and untreated surface water is believed to be major risk factors. All the Nordic countries have experienced a slight fall in the incidence rates in 2002 or 2003. In the eastern part of the region, nearly all the diagnosed cases are domestically acquired. The low incidence figures from the eastern countries of the region compared to the Nordic countries is probably due to underreporting and different use of laboratory services in the diagnosis of these infections.


Prevention of campylobacteriosis includes implementing public health measures at water supplies, farms, commercial food processing, and in private kitchens. An effective Food and Water Control Authority is important to prevent transmission of campylobacteriosis. In the Nordic countries reducing the prevalence of campylobacter in chicken farms has been a priority. Travellers to countries with higher incidence of the bacteria are advised on how to reduce the risk of acquiring campylobacteriosis.
While campylobacteriosis and possible indigenous risk factors have attracted much attention in the Nordic countries, less surveillance and control measures have been carried out in the eastern part of the region.