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Home Eurosurveillance Monthly Release  2003: Volume 8/ Issue 11 Article 3
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Eurosurveillance, Volume 8, Issue 11, 01 November 2003
Surveillance report
Surveillance of human Campylobacter infections in France - Part 2 - Implementation of national surveillance

Citation style for this article: Gallay A, Simon F, Mégraud F. Surveillance of human Campylobacter infections in France - Part 2 - Implementation of national surveillance. Euro Surveill. 2003;8(11):pii=432. Available online:


A. Gallay1, F. Simon1,2, F. Mégraud3
1 Institut de veille sanitaire, Saint-Maurice, France
2 European Programme for Intervention Epidemiology Training (EPIET), Invs, St-Maurice, France
3 Centre National de Référence des Campylobacters et Hélicobacters, Laboratoire de Bactériologie, Hôpital Pellegrin, Bordeaux, France


In 2001, one year after the study of microbiological laboratories that showed the feasibility of a surveillance of Campylobacter infections, 1389 private laboratories were asked whether they would be willing to participate. The high proportion of positive responses (48%, 661) allowed the implementation on 1 April 2002 of surveillance of human Campylobacter infections.

A study, carried out in conjunction with French laboratories in 2001, showed the feasibility of implementing surveillance for human Campylobacter infections in urban areas in terms of laboratory diagnosis practices. The selection of the surveillance system was awarded to the network of private laboratories (Laboratoires d'Analyses de Biologie médicale (LABM)) that had already been participating in the surveillance system for salmonellae on a voluntary basis for many years. Salmonellae are as problematic as campylobacters in terms of foodborne transmission, with pathologies such as acute gastroenteritis. These laboratories are sensitive to surveillance purposes and have a good knowledge of the principles and channels of surveillance networks. Moreover, the 1389 laboratories of the surveillance network for salmonellae are distributed throughout France, and represent around 30% of all 4000 private laboratories. Prior to implementing surveillance of Campylobacter infections, the 1389 private laboratories involved in the surveillance network for salmonellae were asked about their willingness to participate in the surveillance of Campylobacter infections in November 2001, using a standardised questionnaire.
Of the 1389 private laboratories surveyed, around 600 agreed to take part in the surveillance of Campylobacter infections. Based on the per laboratory annual average of 129 samples cultured for Campylobacter, with a mean rate of 4.7% positive results, 3600 Campylobacter isolates can be expected nationally each year. This number is considered sufficient enough to begin surveillance and respond to public health objectives. Surveillance of Campylobacter infections (figure) based on voluntarily sending isolated strains with a completed information sheet to the national reference centre for Campylobacters and Helicobacters (Centre National de Référence des Campylobacters et Hélicobacters (CNRCH) began on 1 April 2002.

The authors wish to thank the private laboratories and the national reference centre for salmonellae and shigellae that participated in this study.



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