HabitatGI tract human


Campylobacter jejuni thrive in the mucosal membranes of the gastrointestinal tract in birds, humans, and other mammals.  Conditions need to be right regarding oxygen levels at 3-5% and carbon dioxide at 2-10%.  Bad news, these levels are what you would find in your digestive tract.


These bacteria are highly successful in what could be considered to be a fairly hostile environment low in oxygen and heavily protected by the hosts immune system.  Despite that, it only takes 35 total organisms to colonize a few day old chick intestine. [3] Even in humans the infective dose is very small, requiring just 400-500 bacteria. [7] In bacteria terms that's by no means a large population.

           GI tract: Wikimedia Commons 


Untreated water vector

Common vectors these bacteria are capable of surviving in and in turn use to get themselves inside hosts include raw poultry, raw milk, and untreated water.


Raw poultry vector

   Dirty drinking water: Wikimedia Commons                                       Raw poultry: Wikimedia Commons


Most food born pathogens are often mentally linked geographically to developing countries because of multiple variables including sanitation and overall poverty.  Campylobacter jejuni, however, is a worldwide pathogen and is the leading cause of bacterial infection globally.  It maintains its status as the leading cause of food borne illness even in the United States, interestingly beating out the widely known Salmonella (which falls 2nd).  Overall it is not a remote pathogen and is found ultimately everywhere.

                         To see what adaptations helped make this pathogen so successful go to Adaptations

                                                                    Back to Home