FRANCE – santé publique france has unveiled concerning details about the surge in Campylobacter infections during 2022, shedding light on 60 outbreaks that have gripped the nation.

Drawing from epidemiological surveillance and data from the National Reference Center (CNR) for Campylobacter and Helicobacter, the findings reveal a complex landscape of infections, seasonal patterns, and antibiotic resistance.

The CNR’s analysis identified 9,160 Campylobacter strains, with Campylobacter jejuni taking the lead at nearly 85%, trailed by Campylobacter coli and Campylobacter fetus.

Most isolations originated from stools, providing a crucial insight into the prevalence of the bacterial infection in the population.

A disconcerting pattern emerged as the data showcased a seasonal surge in isolations during the summer months, reaching its zenith in August—a trend echoed in previous years. This seasonality poses challenges for public health officials as they grapple with heightened infection rates during specific periods.

Age proved to be no barrier to Campylobacter, affecting individuals from a few months old to a centenarian at 102 years.

The median age of infection stood at 27 years, with the under-1 to 9-year age group experiencing the highest incidence. Notably, men exhibited a higher infection rate across all age groups, except for the 20 to 29-year demographic.

Out of the 60 reported outbreaks involving 321 patients, poultry consumption emerged as a common denominator in 22 incidents. This worrisome trend continues from 2021, where over 50 outbreaks impacted 178 individuals.

Antibiotic resistance challenges

The battle against Campylobacter is compounded by antibiotic resistance, with ciprofloxacin resistance almost as high for Campylobacter jejuni as for Campylobacter coli.

While erythromycin resistance is relatively low for Campylobacter jejuni, it edges higher for Campylobacter coli. Tetracycline resistance, however, stands at an alarming high for Campylobacter coli.

Simultaneously, a separate study focused on Campylobacter fetus in eastern France, revealing its impact on adult inpatients in Nord Franche-Comté Hospital.

Among 991 patients with isolated Campylobacter strains, 39 exhibited culture-positive Campylobacter fetus infections.

Markedly, the study underscores that Campylobacter fetus bacteremia primarily afflicts elderly patients, those immunocompromised, or individuals with underlying health conditions.

The infections are associated with high mortality rates, particularly in the absence of dual antimicrobial therapy.

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