Background: Campylobacter species are a leading cause of diarrheal disease globally with significant morbidity. Primary prevention efforts have yielded limited results. Rifaximin chemoprophylaxis decreases rates of travelers' diarrhea and may be suitable for high-risk persons. We assessed the efficacy of rifaximin in the controlled human infection model for Campylobacter jejuni.
Methods: Twenty-eight subjects were admitted to an inpatient facility and randomized to a twice-daily dose of 550 mg rifaximin or placebo. The following day, subjects ingested 1.7 × 105 colony-forming units of C. jejuni strain CG8421. Subjects continued prophylaxis for 3 additional days, were followed for campylobacteriosis for 144 hours, and were subsequently treated with azithromycin and ciprofloxacin. Samples were collected to assess immunologic responses to CG8421.
Results: There was no difference (P = 1.0) in the frequency of campylobacteriosis in those receiving rifaximin (86.7%) or placebo (84.6%). Additionally, there were no differences in the clinical signs and symptoms of C. jejuni infection to include abdominal pain/cramps (P = 1.0), nausea (P = 1.0), vomiting (P = .2), or fever (P = 1.0) across study groups. Immune responses to the CG8421 strain were comparable across treatment groups.
Conclusions: Rifaximin did not prevent campylobacteriosis in this controlled human infection model. Given the morbidity associated with Campylobacter infection, primary prevention efforts remain a significant need.
Clinical trials registration: NCT02280044.