Laboratory-based surveillance by OzFoodNet in Australia and FoodNet in the USA indicated that the incidence of Campylobacter infections in 2001 in Australia was about nine times higher than in the USA. We assessed whether this disparity could be explained by differences in the frequency of stool culturing. Using data from population surveys of diarrhoea and symptom profiles for Campylobacter from case-control studies, indices of healthcare behaviour taking into account the severity of Campylobacter infections were calculated. These suggest that culture-confirmed Campylobacter infections underestimate the incidence of community cases by similar ratios in the two countries. The incidence of Campylobacter infections in Australia was about 12 times higher than in the USA after consideration of healthcare system differences.