An outbreak of Campylobacter jejuni gastroenteritis linked to meltwater contamination of a municipal well

Can J Public Health. 1991 Jan-Feb;82(1):27-31.


A large outbreak of Campylobacter jujuni gastroenteritis attributed to contamination of an unchlorinated municipal water system was investigated. Unlike most previous summer outbreaks, this one began in early spring and was attributed to meltwater entering one or more municipal wells. 241 suspected cases were documented, but retrospective information from local health care workers suggested a much larger outbreak. 45 laboratory-confirmed cases participated in a case-control study which showed a significant association between infection and amount of town water consumed. Stool specimens from 29 patients were studied with detailed serotyping by the method of Lior, with eight known serotypes and one previously unknown one identified. It is concluded that intensive surveillance of water quality during periods of spring runoff is essential, and that timely reporting of disease outbreak patterns in emergency department settings is necessary to protect the public's health.

MeSH terms

  • Campylobacter Infections / epidemiology*
  • Campylobacter Infections / microbiology
  • Campylobacter Infections / prevention & control
  • Campylobacter jejuni / pathogenicity*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Disease Outbreaks*
  • Gastroenteritis / epidemiology*
  • Gastroenteritis / microbiology
  • Humans
  • Ontario
  • Water Microbiology*
  • Water Supply*