Campylobacter is a bacteria which causes an infection of the bowel. Doctors are legally required to notify the Public Health Service of cases of campylobacter disease under the Health Act 1956.

In New Zealand outbreaks of the disease are common, with campylobacter being the most notified disease. In the Nelson Marlborough district around 200 cases of campylobacter disease are notified to the Public Health Service each year. There is usually a peak in spring and summer.


The disease may cause abdominal pain, fever and diarrhoea, often with bloody stools. People get sick within one to ten days (usually three to five days) after ingesting the bacteria and these symptoms can last for about ten days.

 Contact your GP or Healthline (0800 611 116) for further advice.

How is it spread?

Camplylobacter disease may be foodborne, but it can also be contracted by drinking contaminated water or by direct contact with animals.


Wash your hands:

  • after going to the toilet or changing nappies
  • before preparing or handling food
  • after handling raw poultry or meat
    • after touching animals

Be careful:

  • with food preparation and storage. Keep hot food, hot and cold food, cold
  • keep poultry and meat products refrigerated
  • don’t handle food if you have diarrhoea
  • avoid drinking water directly from rivers, streams and creeks

People should remain away from work, school, preschool/childcare for 48 hours after symptoms have gone.