According to recently released figures, the number of Campylobacter cases in England decreased in 2022.

Reported infections fell from 55,642 in 2021 to 54,461 cases in 2022, a decrease of 1,181.

Data comes from the UK Health Security Agency’s (UKHSA) Second Generation Surveillance System and the Gastrointestinal Infections and Food Safety (One Health) (GIFSOH) division’s eFOSS (electronic foodborne and non-foodborne outbreak surveillance system).

Overall, 54 percent of cases were male, and the most affected age group was the 50 to 59-year-old category, accounting for 15 percent of laboratory reports.

The region that reported the most Campylobacter lab reports was the South East, with 9,540; however, the region with the highest rate per 100,000 population was the North East.

The number of monthly lab reports followed the same trend as in past years, peaking in June.

Under a quarter of Campylobacter samples in England were speciated by laboratories. With more than 11,000, most were Campylobacter jejuni, followed by Campylobacter coli with 1,243.

One Campylobacter jejuni outbreak affected 13 people, with four lab-confirmed cases, and was caused by chicken served in a restaurant, café, pub, hotel, or catering service setting.

In 2022, 30 European countries reported 140,241 confirmed cases of campylobacteriosis and 35 deaths. Germany had the most cases, with almost 43,500, with Spain second with more than 20,800 infections.

Developing interventions
Meanwhile, a University of Reading researcher has been awarded a grant to study the UK’s most common bacterial cause of food poisoning.

Aidan Taylor, a lecturer in Microbiology, will investigate Campylobacter. The bacteria has developed resistance to some antibiotics, meaning new methods are needed to fight it.

The Academy of Medical Sciences awarded funding as part of grant money that it will share with 54 biomedical and health researchers. Taylor’s work will receive £121,000 ($153,000).

Taylor said the technology he will use to fight the bacteria works by disrupting its genes. 

“Transposons are jumping genes that insert themselves into other genes to create a library of mutant bacteria. Antibiotic treatments are then used on this mutant library, and we measure which ones survive and which ones do not, meaning we can see which genes are necessary for survival,” he said.

“Developing interventions for Campylobacter will allow us to reduce the number of infections in humans, saving the suffering of many thousands of people, reducing pressure on the NHS and the financial burden on the taxpayer.” 

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