Introduction Campylobacter spp. is a common cause of acute bacterial gastroenteritis worldwide but the source of the infection in many human sporadic cases remains unknown. Many case-control studies have been conducted, however, little has been published about socioeconomic differences in the incidence of Campylobacter infection.
Methods From December 2004 to December 2006 a prospective matched case-control study was conducted, in the urban area of Attica, Greece, in order to identify risk factors for sporadic Campylobacter jejuni infections in children aged <15 years.
Results A total of 205 bacteriologically confirmed cases and 205 controls matched by age group (<1 year, 1 to 4, 5 to 9 and 10 to 14 years) and gender were included in the study. After univariate analysis two conditional logistic regression multivariate models were fitted. The first included “protective” variables, whereas these were ignored in the second. Apart from the consumption of chicken the week prior to disease onset, some socioeconomic risk factors of the disease were also recognised. Ethnicity, mother's employment status and, living in a house with a garden were found to be independently associated with the disease occurrence in both models. Domestic travel was correlated to the frequency of the disease only in model II.
Conclusion Apart from the dietary determinants of Campylobacter infection that have been studied thoroughly in a number of studies, there are specific socioeconomic characteristics that could either be risk factors of the disease or just hide other behavioural and eating risk factors.