Surveillance and outbreak reports Open Access
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Campylobacter infection is the most common cause of bacterial gastroenteritis worldwide. This study examines the association between campylobacteriosis incidence and degree of urbanicity in Hesse, Germany, by age and Campylobacter species. During a one-year period (July 2005-June 2006), Hessian local health authorities provided information on municipality of residence for 3,315 campylobacteriosis cases. We calculated age- and Campylobacter species-specific incidences for six levels of urbanicity, as defined by population density and accessibility of centres. For children under five years old, living in inner rural areas (incidence rate ratio (IRR): 2.9; 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.9 to 4.4) and for children aged 5-14 years living in inner rural (IRR: 2.1; 95% CI: 1.3 to 3.1) or intermediate areas (inner intermediate area IRR: 1.8; 95% CI: 1.2 to 2.7; outer intermediate area IRR: 2.1; 95% CI: 1.3 to 3.3) was associated with a statistically significantly higher campylobacteriosis risk (reference category: inner urban area). Calculations by Campylobacter species showed a higher risk of gastroenteritis due to C. coli for inhabitants (all ages) of non-urban areas. This study suggests that differences in risk factors by age, Campylobacter species and degree of urbanicity do exist. For children contact with animals or the environment may be responsible for a substantial proportion of sporadic Campylobacter infections.


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