Challenges of culturing Campylobacter species

Worldwide, Campylobacter species are the most common cause of bacterial gastroenteritis, with 400–500 million cases of diarrhoea each year. The current standard for identification of Campylobacter is bacterial culture followed by microscopic examination of the organisms, which has two major limitations.

First, pathogenic species of Campylobacter are microaerophilic – exposure of culture or faeces to environmental oxygen leads to death or inactivation of the bacteria during transport or storage of specimens under aerobic conditions, the number of viable organisms can decrease, leading to potentially inaccurate culture results. Second, Campylobacter species are slow-growing, requiring 48–72 hours before reaching a point where the culture can safely be reported as negative.

The CAMPYLOBACTER QUIK CHEK test allows detection of C. jejuni and C. coli, the species most commonly associated with human disease. The test also cross-reacts with C. upsaliensis, C. lari, and C. helveticus. The CAMPYLOBACTER QUIK CHEK test can be performed in less than 30 minutes, does not rely on bacterial viability, and can be performed on the bench with samples that have been exposed to air. The test also has 100% sensitivity and specificity after discrepant resolution (97.1% and 99.1%, respectively, versus culture).

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