The campylobacter are a group of related bacteria, most of which cause disease in humans. They are most often found in poultry products (particularly raw chicken) and infection is generally spread through eating contaminated food, although the can spread in contaminated water. In addition to being a major cause of food poisoning and related diarrhea (particularly in children), they can be fatal to individuals who are immunocompromised, particularly those suffering from AIDS.
The campylobacter are heat resistant and thrive at temperatures around 42 degrees Celcius. However, they do poorly at room temperature, although they can tolerate refrigeration. They are killed by thorough cooking.
Certain species in the group are capable of producing a toxin that can weaken the effect of certain cells of the immune system. In addition, because they are gram negative, they are immune to broad spectrum antibiotics such as penicillin. Azithromycin is the usual drug of choice.