Objective: To determine the frequencyof Campylobacter jejuni infection in children suffering from diarrhoea/dysentery in the Department of Microbiology, Army Medical College and Military Hospital, Rawalpindi, from 29 August 2002 to 29 November 2002. Methods: The study was carried out on one hundred stool samples of children up to the age of twelve years admitted with diarrhoea/dysentery in Military hospital, Rawalpindi. The samples were collected in clean polypropylene containers containing Cary Blair medium. These were transported to the Microbiology Department, Army Medical College, Rawalpindi within 1-2 hours. The samples were inoculated on Modified Preston (Oxoid) and Karmali media (Oxoid) beside other routine stool culture media. The cultures were incubated at 420C under microaerophilic conditions. The growth after 48 hours was provisionally identified by colonial morphology, oxidase test, Gram staining and motility. The organisms were identified to species level by hippurate hydrolysis, urease test, nitrate reduction, catalase test, H2S production and resistance to cephalothin. Results: Eighteen percent of samples yielded the growth of Campylobacter jejuni. Mean age of children with Campylobacter jejuni infection was 18 months with peak incidence from 12 to 21 months. Male female ratio was 1.7:1. All the children had loose motions. Seven out 18 (39%) had a combination of symptoms of loose motions, vomiting and pain abdomen. Those having fever with or without other complaints constituted 11 out of 18 (61.11%) i.e. more than 50% of all the children yielding C. jejuni had fever. About 90 % of diarrhoeal stools had blood and fifty percent also had mucous. There was either history of chicken meat consumption or contact with cattle and pets in most of the cases and both in some of them. Conclusion: Campylobacter jejuni is a frequent cause of diarrhoea/ dysentery in children in our set up. In children it is often related to pets keeping and chicken meat consumption. In the remaining, untreated drinking water may be the source. Campylobacter jejuni frequently -presents with blood and mucous in stools with sporadic cases presenting with watery diarrhoea (JPMA 53:517;2003).
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