Campylobacter is one of the most common bacterial causes of gastrointestinal infection in the United States, with an estimated 2.4 million cases of Campylobacter infection per year. These bacteria live in the gastrointestinal tracts of poultry, and humans are typically infected through eating undercooked poultry or handling the raw meat. As little as one drop of raw chicken juice is enough to cause Campylobacter infection.
Symptoms of the illness typically begin between two and five days after exposure and usually include diarrhea (which may be bloody), cramping, abdominal pain, fever, nausea and vomiting. The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has compliance guidelines for comprehensive control of Campylobacter in poultry-processing plants, but because these recommendations are focused on consumer food safety rather than worker protection, additional measures are necessary to protect the health of employees.