The Genus Campylobacter

Authored by: Collette Fitzgerald , Janet Pruckler , Maria Karlsson , Patrick Kwan

Practical Handbook of Microbiology

Print publication date:  June  2015
Online publication date:  June  2015

Print ISBN: 9781466587397
eBook ISBN: 9781466587403
Adobe ISBN:


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Spiral campylobacter–like organisms were first observed microscopically from the stool of children by Escherich in 1886. Between 1909 and 1944, there were a growing number of reports of similar vibrio-like organisms isolated from bovine and ovine sources, but they were not isolated from humans until 1938, in association with a milk-borne outbreak of gastroenteritis where blood cultures were positive for organisms resembling Vibrio jejuni [1]. The microaerobic vibrios were assigned to the new genus Campylobacter in 1963 [2], and included just two species: Campylobacter fetus and Campylobacter bubulus (now Campylobacter sputorum). Campylobacters were first successfully isolated from stool in the late 1960s using a filtration technique [1]. Later, the development of selective media brought the routine isolation of Campylobacter into the clinical microbiology setting, and Campylobacter spp. rapidly became recognized as a common cause of bacterial gastroenteritis. The taxonomic structure of Campylobacter has changed substantially since its inception in 1963, first with a comprehensive study of the taxonomy of the genus in 1973 [3]. By the late 1980s, there was a rapid increase in classification at the species level, and 14 species had been described (see review by Penner [4]).

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