Washington State Penitentiary Campylobacter Outbreak
Between March, 2002, and March, 2003, Washington State Department of Health (WDOH) identified five clusters of Campylobacter jejuni infections among inmates and staff at the Washington State Penitentiary. Over one-hundred inmates tested positive for Campylobacter jejuni in these clusters. Genetic testing, completed through a process termed pulse-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE), revealed that all of the individuals’ Campylobacter jejuni isolates were genetically indistinguishable.
Investigation by WDOH and CDC identified, among other things, a causal connection between a drain contaminated with pigeon feces on the roof and a leaking, uncapped pipe in the kitchen salad preparation area at the WSP. Other potential or specific causes of the contamination, including poor food-handling practices, were also documented as part of the investigation.