Wyoming’s troubling Campylobacter uptick appears to be edging off a bit and is not in any way connected to the other larger campy hotspot on the U.S.-Mexico border at Yuma County, AZ.
As of July 22, the number of Campylobacter cases in Wyoming since June 1 had reached 34. “That is still ahead of our baseline, but not as dramatic as the four fold increase we reported earlier,” says Kim Keti, Wyoming Department of Health spokesman in Laramie.
Wyoming reported the sharp increase in dangerous human Campylobacter bacterial infections earlier in July after six people were hospitalized with it. No common source has been identified, but “animal-related” illness is partially driving the increase, says Kelly Weidenbach, a state epidemiologist.
Most of the victims are men, many with farm and ranch backgrounds.
Further south in a relatively small geographic area along the U.S.-Mexico border, health officials are continuing to investigate whether an increase in Campylobacter cases is responsible for an unusual spike in Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS).
Health officials in the U.S. and Mexico took notice when they counted at least 16 cases of GBS in the area. Now there are more than two dozen: 17 in Mexico and 7 on the U.S. side of the border.
Typically, there is only 1 case of GBS for every 100,000 people.
Yuma County, AZ and San Luis Rio Colorado, Sonora in Mexico are the two areas with GBS cases and one commonality they’ve identified are more cases of Campylobacter. Health officials are working together and crossing the border to conduct investigations.
The states of Arizona and Sonora are promoting thorough hand-washing and safe food preparation as the best defenses against infection. GBS is not passed person to person.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta declined to comment on any involvement it might have in combatting the two diseases.
According to CDC, Campylobacteriosis is an infectious disease caused by bacteria of the genus Campylobacter.
Most people who become ill with campylobacteriosis get diarrhea, cramping, abdominal pain, and fever within two to five days after exposure to the organism.
The diarrhea may be bloody and can be accompanied by nausea and vomiting. The illness typically lasts one week. Some infected persons do not have any symptoms. In persons with compromised immune systems, Campylobacter occasionally spreads to the bloodstream and causes a serious life-threatening infection.
GBS is a serious neurological disorder involving inflammatory demyelination of peripheral nerves, according to CDC. It can occur spontaneously or after certain events such as infections.
Illness is typically characterized by the subacute onset of progressive, symmetrical weakness in the legs and arms, with loss of reflexes. Sensory abnormalities, involvement of cranial nerves, and paralysis of respiratory muscles also can occur. A small portion of patients die, and 20 percent of hospitalized patients can have prolonged disability.
Campylobacter jejuni, which causes bacterial gastroenteritis, is one identified participating factor for GBS.