The bacteria species Campylobacter is found in numerous apathogenic (harmless) and, in some circumstances, pathogenic (morbid) species of domestic and wild animals. The pathogenic Campylobacter species include both veterinary and human pathogens. The most important veterinary Campylobacter species are Campylobacter fetus types (C. fetus ssp. venerealis, C. fetus ssp. fetus) and C. jejuni.
The most important human pathogenic Campylobacter species found in animals are C. jejuni and C. coli.
These forms can be detected in almost all species of animal to varying distribution levels, prevalence and concentrations. They are widespread among domestic animals, in particular in poultry, but are also common in pigs, ruminants, dogs, cats and pets (rabbits, guinea pigs etc.).
Veterinary Campylobacter species (C. fetus species) often result in fertility problems and miscarriages (cattle, sheep) in animals. Illnesses such as diarrhoea in young animals and animals with weak immune systems (poultry, cattle, dogs, cats) or miscarriages (sheep) caused by other species, e.g. C. jejuni, are rarely observed.
Combating methods regulated by law are solely in place for C. fetus ssp. venerealis, which is an animal epidemic that must be reported to the authorities.
Combating and prevention methods for all other species of Campylobacter -- in particular with regards to the transmission of the bacteria to humans -- can only be compiled from general, EU-wide and national hygiene regulations for food-producing businesses. These preventative measures include hygiene and pest control on farms and in slaughterhouses (industrial hygiene), as well as staff hygiene for individuals working in meat production and processing.
Microbiology cultural methods are the main ones used to detect Campylobacter, according to ISO standards. The cultivation of the pathogens requires specific, selective culture mediums or liquid culture mediums with selective additives inhibiting the accompanying bacterial flora -- depending on the test material with or without prior enrichment. The media must be incubated for at least 48 hours at 37-42 °C in a low-oxygen environment (microaerophile).
Additionally, there are also a number of molecularbiological (esp. PCR) and immunological methods (e.g. quick tests) for Campylobacter diagnosis.