Each year, approximately 80,000 persons per year (range 30,000 - 160,000) are estimated to experience symptoms of acute gastro-enteritis as a consequence of infection with Campylobacter bacteria. On average 18,000 patients consult a general practitioner and 500 patients are hospitalised; for some 30 cases the disease could be fatal. Additionally, each year some 1400 cases of reactive arthritis, 60 cases of Guillain-Barre syndrome and 10 cases of inflammatory bowel disease are associated with a previous Campylobacter infection. The disease burden and the cost-of-illness of Campylobacter infections and sequelae were estimated using a stochastic simulation model. Disease burden was expressed in Disability Adjusted Life Years (DALYs), the sum of years of life lost and years lived with disability, weighted for the severity of disease. Considered in the cost-of-illness were direct health-care costs (e.g. doctors' consultations, hospitalisation, rehabilitation), direct non-health-care costs (e.g. travel costs of patients, co-payments by patients) and indirect non-health-care costs (productivity losses), using cost estimates for the year 2000. The disease burden associated with Campylobacter infections was estimated at 1200 DALYs per year, with a 90% uncertainty interval of between 900 and 1600 DALYs per year. The costs-of-illness were estimated to total 21 million per year with a 90% confidence interval of between 11 million and 36 million per year. Hence, Campylobacter infections pose an important public health problem for the Netherlands and incur substantial costs.
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