Skip directly to site content Skip directly to search
U.S. flag An official website of the United States government

Official websites use .gov

A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS

A lock ( ) or https:// means you've safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

NOTE: A surveillance case definition is a set of uniform criteria used to define a disease for public health surveillance. Surveillance case definitions enable public health officials to classify and count cases consistently across reporting jurisdictions. Surveillance case definitions are not intended to be used by healthcare providers for making a clinical diagnosis or determining how to meet an individual patient’s health needs.

CSTE Position Statement(s)

  • 14-ID-09


Campylobacteriosis is a bacterial illness that generally causes a self-limited clinical illness typically characterized by diarrhea (frequently with bloody stools), abdominal cramps, malaise, fever, nausea, and vomiting; asymptomatic infection also occurs frequently. Severe symptoms and invasive infections can also occur, and persons with Campylobacter infections are at increased risk for three post-infectious complications: Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS), reactive arthritis, and irritable bowel syndrome. Campylobacter infection is transmitted by the fecal-oral route, usually through ingestion of contaminated food or water or through direct contact with infected animals. Person-to-person transmission is uncommon.

Clinical Criteria

An illness of variable severity commonly manifested by diarrhea, abdominal pain, nausea and sometimes vomiting. The organism may also rarely cause extra-intestinal infections such as bacteremia, meningitis or other focal infections.

Laboratory Criteria For Diagnosis

Probable: Detection of Campylobacter spp. in a clinical specimen using a culture independent diagnostic test (CIDT).

Confirmed: Isolation of Campylobacter spp. from a clinical specimen.

Epidemiologic Linkage

Probable: A clinically compatible case that is epidemiologically linked to a case that meets the probable or confirmed laboratory criteria for diagnosis.

Criteria to Distinguish a New Case from an Existing Case

A case should not be counted as a new case if laboratory results were reported within 30 days of a previously reported infection in the same individual.

Case Classification


A case that meets the probable laboratory criteria for diagnosis or a clinically compatible case that is epidemiologically linked to a probable or confirmed case of campylobacteriosis.


A case that meets the confirmed laboratory criteria for diagnosis.


The use of CIDTs as stand-alone tests for the direct detection of Campylobacter in stool is increasing. Data regarding their performance indicate variability in the sensitivity, specificity, and positive predictive value of these assays depending on the manufacturer (CDC unpublished data). It is therefore useful to collect information on the laboratory conducting the testing using the laboratory’s unique Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) number, and when possible, type and manufacturer of the CIDT used to diagnose each case. Culture confirmation of CIDT-positive specimens is ideal, but not practical to achieve in most jurisdictions.

Related Case Definition(s)