32 plus species including:


Campylobacter cinaedi (see Helicobacter cinaedi )
Campylobacter coli
Campylobacter concisus
Campylobacter curvus
Campylobacter fennelliae
Campylobacter fetus
Campylobacter helveticus
Campylobacter hyointestinalis
Campylobacter jejuni
Campylobacter lari (formerly Campylobacter laridis )
Campylobacter mucosalis
Campylobacter mustelae (see Helicobacter mustelae )
Campylobacter pylori (see Helicobacter pylori )
Campylobacter rectus
Campylobacter showae
Campylobacter sputorum
Campylobacter upsaliensis


Gram Stain: Negative.
Morphology: The slender rods have one or more helical turns. They also appear "S" shaped and "gull-wing" shaped when two cells form short chains. Cells in old cultures may form spherical forms (coccoid bodies).
Size: 0.2-0.5 micrometers by 0.5-5.0 micrometers and can be as long as 8.0 micrometers long.
Motility: The cells are motile with a characteristic corkscrew-like motion by means of a single, unsheathed polar flagellum at one or both ends of the cells. They are non-sporeforming.
Capsules: None.
Spores: None.


In general, Campylobacter spp. appear as gray, flat, irregular, spreading colonies. As moisture content of the media decreases, the colonies may become round, convex and glistening, with little spreading. Campylobacter spp. are non-hemolytic.


Microaerophilic, needing 3-5% CO 2 for growth as well as reduced O 2 ; respiratory; Chemoorganoheterotrophic; amino acids or TCA cycle in intermediates are utilized as carbon sources. Non-fermentative.



The habitat of Campylobacter spp. includes the intestinal tract, oral cavity and reproductive organs of man, animals and birds.


All Campylobacter spp. are potentially pathogenic. Campylobacter spp. produce two primary syndromes in humans; systemic disease characterized by fever, and most often, gastroenteritis.

Extraintestinal disease, including meningitis, endocarditis and septic arthritis is being recognized more frequently, particularly in AIDS patients.

Campylobacter , usually Campylobacter jejuni , has been recognized as the most common etiological agent of gastroenteritis in the United States. 97% of patients with diarrhea from Campylobacter jejuni cease excreting the organism within four to seven weeks even without treatment, however, the remaining patients (now asymptomatic) continue to carry the organism for up to several years.

Campylobacter jejuni , Campylobacter lari , Campylobacter coli , Campylobacter hyointestinalis and Campylobacter upsaliensis are all associated with human enteritis. Campylobacter concisus is isolated from patients with periodontal disease but the organisms role in this syndrome is not clear.

C. fetus is a cause of abortion in sheep and sporadic abortion in cattle, as well as a cause of human infections. This species is known to be transmitted orally.

Cephalothin sensitive Campylobacter spp. such as C. fetus and C. upsaliensis may not be recovered on Campy Cefex Agar because it contains cefoperazone. (6)


For culture: Chocolate Agar or Campy Thio.
For selective isolation: Campy Blood-Free Karmali (not for Campylobacter fetus )
Campy CVA Agar (not for Campylobacter fetus ).
For maintenance: Thioglycollate Broth with Supplements (at 35 degrees C. with a tight cap), or LSPQ (for freezing at -20 degrees C.).


Temperature: 35 degrees C. and 42 degrees C.
Time: 24-48 hours.
Atmosphere: Microaerophilic.


1. Forbes, B.A., et al. 1998. Bailey and Scott's Diagnostic Microbiology , 10th ed. C.V. Mosby Company, St. Louis, MO.

2. Holt, J.G., et al. 1994. Bergey's Manual of Determinative Bacteriology , 9th ed. Williams & Wilkins, Baltimore, MD.

3. Holt, J.G., et al. 1986. Bergey's Manual of Systemic Bacteriology , Vol. I & II. Williams & Wilkins, Baltimore, MD.

4. The Oxoid Vade-Mecum of Microbiology . 1993. Unipath Ltd., Basingstoke, UK.

5. Internet: /Bacterial Database Search, February, 1998.

6. Murray, P.R., et al. 1995. Manual of Clinical Microbiology , 6th ed. American Society for Microbiology, Washington, D.C.