Campylobacter increase in Wyoming; any relation to Arizona?

The Wyoming Department of Health is reporting a four-fold increase statewide in Campylobacter infections this summer, with at least 29 people sickened and six hospitalized. Nearly three-quarters of the patients are male.

"While the increase in these infections appears to be sporadic with no single common source, it’s clear that animal-related illness is at least partially driving the increase," said Kelly Weidenbach, epidemiologist with the department’s Infectious Disease Epidemiology Program.

In rare cases people may develop serious complications such as Guillain-Barré syndrome. The syndrome occurs when the immune system is triggered to attack the body’s nerves. It can lead to paralysis and usually requires intensive care.

Public health officials attempt to interview each person with the Campylobacter infection. Among patients interviewed to date, exposure to animals, especially cattle and dogs, has been common.

"In many cases, the animals were noted to be ill with diarrhea when the person had contact with them," Weidenbach said. "Several have been ranchers or individuals who recently attended a cattle branding and who were accidentally exposed to fecal material."

That sounds different from the Arizona campylobacter increase. But who knows.