Published: 06.10.05 Updated: 07.10.2005 09:01:15

Hans Blystad, Lars Blad, Johan Giesecke, Swedish Institute for Infectious Disease Control, Sweden, the Steering Group of the project Building a Network for Infections Disease Surveillance in the Baltic Sea Region


Campylobacteriosis is a notifiable disease in the Nordic countries, Germany and the Baltic countries.
In Northwest Russia, presence of campylobacter in faecal samples is rarely looked for. Thus, less is known of the true incidence of the disease in these areas.


Campylobacteriosis is a growing problem in the region and has in many parts of the western region surpassed salmonellosis as the most common form of bacterial enteritis. In Finland, Germany, Iceland, Norway and Sweden about half the cases reported in 2001 were domestically acquired. In Denmark about 80% are indigenous cases. 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 a major risk factor. In the eastern part rest of the region, nearly all the diagnosed cases are domestically acquired.

High-risk groups

In the western part of the region a large number of campylobacteriosis cases is diagnosed in tourists returning from countries with a high incidence of the disease.
Various risk factors have been identified in Nordic studies including untreated drinking water, eating poorly cooked poultry products and unhygienic contact with animals.

Prevention strategies

Prevention of water and food-borne campylobacteriosis includes implementing public health measures at water supplies, farms, commercial food processing and routine food and personal hygiene measures at home. In addition, an effective Food and Water Control Authority is important to prevent transmission of campylobacteriosis. Travellers to countries with high incidence of the bacteria are advised how to reduce the risk of acquiring campylobacteriosis.
While campylobacteriosis and possible indigenous risk factors have attracted much attention in the Nordic countries and Germany, less surveillance and control measures have been carried out in the eastern part of the region.