Campylobacter, most common foodborne illness, peaks in May in Wales

Campylobacter is the most commonly reported bacterial cause of diarrhea in Wales and the rest of the UK, but telatively little is known about it.

And for some unknown reason, campylobacter cases show a marked seasonal trend with peaks in the late spring – around the third week of May – and again in the autumn.

Last year there were more than 3,300 confirmed cases of campylobacter in Wales – the highest number and rate since 2001. To date this year there have been more than 300.

The Food Standards Agency’s last survey of campylobacter and salmonella in chicken on sale in the UK, which was published in October, found campylobacter was present in 65% of the samples of chicken tested. Salmonella was detected in 6% of samples.

Andrew Wadge, the FSA’s director of food safety, told the Western Mail,

“It is obvious more needs to be done to get these levels down and we need to continue working with poultry producers and retailers to make this happen.

“Other countries like New Zealand and Denmark have managed to do so, we need to emulate that progress in the UK.”