The Link Between Chicken Consumption and Urinary Tract Infections

Only about one in 4 individuals have heard of Campylobacter, in comparison with 90 p.c who’re conversant in Salmonella. “Although the incidence of these two…gastrointestinal infections is amazingly high,” infecting greater than one million Americans yearly, “it is even outranked by the incidence of infection caused by extraintestinal pathogenic Escherichia coli (ExPEC)”—a bug even fewer individuals have probably heard of.

Extraintestinal? That means outdoors of the intestines, as in inflicting bladder infections, and pathogenic, which means disease-causing. Indeed, E. coli leads to thousands and thousands of infections yearly. As I focus on in my video Friday Favorites: Urinary Tract Infections from Eating Chicken, “multiple lines of evidence indicate poultry as a major food animal reservoir for urinary tract infections”—that’s, a supply for the micro organism that trigger UTIs in individuals. (You might recall I explored this a number of years in the past, as mentioned in my video Avoiding Chicken to Avoid Bladder Infections.) This is predicated not solely on research displaying that blood infections, mind infections, and urinary tract infections in mouse fashions will be brought on by these sorts of E. coli from business rooster meat and eggs, but in addition on research of ladies with multidrug-resistant urinary tract infections reporting considerably extra frequent consumption of retail rooster. Similarly, aged customers of rooster had been considerably extra prone to have Cipro-resistant bladder infections in comparison with these consuming no rooster in any respect. Pork, however not beef, was additionally related to elevated threat, as you possibly can see under and at 1:14 in my video.

“There have been few observed associations between beef cattle or retail beef and human ExPEC, suggesting that beef cattle are not a reservoir for human ExPEC” (bladder infections), whereas, in chickens, of the as much as 90 p.c of rooster carcasses harboring E. coli, about one in 5 isolates examined had the potential to trigger urinary tract infections.

What about eggs? We know retail rooster meat “is contaminated with ExPEC isolates that resemble the strains that cause human infections,” however what about retail rooster eggs? Instead of 1 in 5 being ExPEC in rooster meat, it was extra like simply 1 in 20 amongst eggs, which is nearer to ranges for pork or beef.

Researchers are so certain that rooster is the first reservoir that once they discover the identical type of pressure in a vegetarian, they interpret that “as consistent with human-to-human transmission or errors in reporting of poultry consumption rather than human strains being derived from a source other than chicken.” Someone might declare to be vegetarian however really eat some rooster, as an illustration, or maybe there was human-to-human and even shopping-cart-to-human transmission. (See my How to Shop for, Handle, and Store Chicken video.) Most individuals fail to sanitize their palms after choosing up a bundle of poultry within the grocery retailer, so the “bacteria potentially left on the cart could affect other shoppers….A shopper who is not purchasing poultry, or is purchasing poultry and is following safety precautions, could still be exposed to poultry contaminates via the cart.”

“It’s difficult to estimate how much ExPEC exchange can be attributed to person-to-person contact” after the rectum of a poultry shopper has been colonized. Researchers swabbed public restrooms to attempt to quantify the danger, gathering greater than a thousand samples from 56 public restrooms in 33 institutions. As you possibly can see within the graph under and at 3:07 in my video, they discovered a number of proof of E. coli basically, however significantly in restrooms at public parks and fast-food joints—much more so than fuel stations, which stunned me. What was actually surprising for me, although, was that ladies’s restrooms had been worse than males’s!

Only about 1 p.c of the samples the researchers took had been optimistic for ExPEC micro organism, nevertheless, however they had been recovered from websites that weren’t related to bogs and weren’t visibly contaminated. So, one may come into contact with ExPEC micro organism with their naked palms after turning off a faucet after washing their palms, for instance. In this fashion, the danger “could not be fully eliminated by careful hand washing or avoidance of fecal-appearing debris”—although it’s in all probability a good suggestion to keep away from that anyway. Using hand sanitizers after exiting the restroom, to not point out within the meat aisle after touching a bundle of poultry, might supply further safety.

What proportion of the seven million bladder infections—a typical type of urinary tract an infection (UTI)—yearly within the United States is brought on by rooster meat? “If no more chicken were consumed, how many E. coli UTIs would be prevented and how much would the prevalence decline?” It’s exhausting to inform due to the “time lag between the acquisition and asymptomatic colonization of the intestine with an ExPEC organism and the development of an infection.” You can eat some contaminated rooster in the present day, however the UTI-causing ExPEC micro organism might hand around in your colon for months earlier than making their manner into your bladder and triggering an an infection. The motive we all know it might probably take that lengthy is by finding out the intestinal inhabitants dynamics of UTI-causing E. coli between companions. Increased rectum-to-rectum transfers “might be explained by the high levels of E. coli present in the urine of an infected woman, increasing the probability of transmission via direct contact.” That is, the E. coli might then be transferred to their companions, relying on sure intimate practices, equivalent to cunnilingus.

The backside line? There is “compelling evidence that retail meat, particularly poultry, serves as an important reservoir for human exposure to antibiotic-resistant E. coli that is causing UTIs. Thus, the term foodborne UTIs or FUTIs has been adopted to describe these infections.”

Certainly, we might lower the burden of those foodborne bladder infections by creating some form of ExPEC vaccine, however why not simply scale back our contact with recent or frozen poultry? No hurt, no fowl.

Hold on. Who eats undercooked rooster? Typically, it’s an issue of cross-contamination, as I focus on in Food Poisoning Bacteria Cross-Contamination.

These days, there may be explicit concern about antibiotic-resistant infections. See Past the Age of Miracles: Facing a Post-Antibiotic Age and Friday Favorites: What About Kosher and Organic Chicken? to study extra about bacterial contamination.

Would shopping for natural be higher? See my video Superbugs in Conventional vs. Organic Chicken.

What about treating UTIs? Check out Can Cranberry Juice Treat Bladder Infections?.

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