February 19, 2012 in Nation/World

Urinary tract infections traced to chickens

Los Angeles Times
 

Urinary tract infections are common conditions that occur when bacteria from the intestines enter the urinary tract. New research, however, suggests that the bacteria causing these infections may come from contaminated food – especially chickens.

While it sounds bizarre, studies from Canadian researchers show that stricter chicken-farm anti-contamination practices may help curb cases of urinary tract infections. In 2010, researchers showed that the most common cause of the infections – E. coli bacteria – can originate in food. In a study published last week, the authors show that chicken is the likely culprit.

The scientists, led by Amee R. Manges of McGill University, tested 320 samples of beef, pork and chicken. They found that the bacteria from beef and pork were far less likely to be genetically related to human urinary tract infection bacteria strains than those from chicken, which were closely related.

Proper kitchen handling and cooking of chicken can reduce the chances of E. coli infection.

Given the strong link between E. coli-related urinary tract infections and chicken, it makes sense for chicken farms to step up efforts to stop bacterial contamination, the authors said.


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