New research into Campylobacter infection in Scotland

17 March 2020

Article: 54/1104

Food Standards Scotland (FSS) has published new research on Campylobacter, the most common cause of bacterial food poisoning in Scotland, which provides evidence concerning those at greater risk of infection and severe illness, and the estimated healthcare cost of infection. Conducted between 2013 and 2019, this research was undertaken by Health Protection Scotland (HPS) and the University of Aberdeen, on behalf of FSS.

The research confirmed that, while a higher number of cases are reported in more affluent areas of Scotland, those living in the most deprived areas are at an increased risk of developing serious illness and being hospitalised.

The results showed that overall, around 14% of Campylobacter cases lead to hospitalisation, with hospital admissions more likely to have one or more of the following risk factors: 

  • being 65 years or older 
  • having an underlying medical condition 
  • being prescribed with proton pump inhibitor to reduce stomach acid production in the 90 days prior to infection

The findings from this research have enabled public health authorities to estimate that, with approximately 6,000 cases reported per year, Scotland’s total annual healthcare cost for Campylobacter infections is approximately three million pounds.