Livestock Are the Main Source of Food Poisoning, Study Shows
By Chantal Britt
Source of Article: http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601124&sid=aF6iXDgOCvEc&refer=home
Sept. 26 (Bloomberg) -- Animals farmed for meat and poultry are the principle source of food poisoning in humans, according to new research published in PLoS Genetics.
Using a new method of evolution-based
gene-typing, a group of
Campylobacter jejuni causes more cases of gastro-enteritis in the
developed world than any other bacteria, including E. coli, Salmonella,
Clostridium and Listeria combined. The spread of the disease may be cut by
improving food hygiene during preparation and by enforcing on-farm security
measures, said Daniel Wilson of the
``The dual observations that livestock are a frequent source of human disease isolates, and that wild animals and the environment are not, strongly support the notion that preparation or consumption of infected meat and poultry is the dominant transmission route,'' Wilson said.
Past research found that campylobacter in humans most closely resembles non-livestock strains and that some outbreaks may have been due to contaminated water, suggesting that livestock weren't the main source for human disease.
The researchers from
Wilson and his team found that the vast
majority were caused by the spiral-shaped bacteria typically found in chicken
and livestock. The results may spur more initiatives aimed at controlling
Measures may include disinfecting farm
premises and water supplies, restricting access to livestock to essential
personnel, minimizing the use of invasive practices such as thinning in
chickens, securing premises from wild birds and mammals, and protecting food
supplies from bacterial contamination,
Just one drop of juice from raw chicken meat can infect a person. One way to become infected is to cut poultry meat on a cutting board, and then using the unwashed cutting board or utensil to prepare vegetables or other lightly cooked food. Most of the 2.4 million Americans who develop gastro-enteritis each year become ill with campylobacteriosis from eating raw or undercooked poultry meat.
The disease -- with symptoms including
diarrhea, cramping, abdominal pain, nausea and fever -- may last as many as 10
days and costs the
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