Specific IgM antibodies against Campylobacter jejuni are mainly used in the investigation and monitoring of diseases such as Guillain-Barré syndrome and certain forms of reactive arthritis.
The Campylobacter microbial genus is made up of bacteria that belong to more than 20 different species worldwide and with at least 12 species involved in human diseases. Campylobacter jejuni (found in cattle, pigs, and birds where it is non-pathogenic) and Campylobacter coli (also found in cattle, pigs, and birds) are the most common. The most common forms of transmission are the fecal-oral route, with the consumption of contaminated food (poultry, dairy) or water, and the consumption of non-cooked meat. Campylobacter infection causes an inflammatory syndrome, sometimes with bloody diarrhea or dysentery, cramping, fever, and abdominal pain. Infection is usually self-limiting, and in most cases, symptomatic treatment with fluid and electrolyte administration is sufficient. Poorly cooked, infected poultry and poultry products (with the exception of eggs) are the main sources of contamination.
The clinical manifestations of Campylobacter jejuni infection are acute enteritis with fever (38 - 40 °C), headache, myalgia, anorexia, and fatigue. The disease generally lasts from one day to one week. Normally infections are self-limiting, but 5 to 10% of affected patients have relapses. Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) and reactive arthritis are some of the rare complications of Campylobacter jejuni infection.
Campylobacter jejuni infections are usually detected by isolating the pathogenic microorganism in fecal and blood samples. In recent years, the serological diagnosis of Campylobacter jejuni infections has evolved into an important diagnostic process. Serious complications, such as reactive arthritis and Guillain-Barré syndrome, require reliable serological tests, as these conditions usually develop up to three weeks after infection with the microbe. In these cases, fecal cultivation is not appropriate as it is usually during this time that the microbial isolation efforts are unsuccessful.
Laboratory test results are the most important parameter for the diagnosis and monitoring of all pathological conditions. 70%-80% of diagnostic decisions are based on laboratory tests. The correct interpretation of laboratory results allows a doctor to distinguish "healthy" from "diseased".
Laboratory test results should not be interpreted from the numerical result of a single analysis. Test results should be interpreted in relation to each individual case and family history, clinical findings, and the results of other laboratory tests and information. Your personal physician should explain the importance of your test results.
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