For most people urinary tract infections (UTIs) are a common and minor annoyance. However, when UTIs involve the kidneys or blood, they can be life-threatening. More than 80% of UTIs are caused by E. coli. One specific type this bacteria, E. coli ST131, was found to be able to travel from the bladder to the blood resulting in thousands of deaths in the U.S. each year.
Recent research suggests that there are multiple strains of E. coli ST131 and that one strain in particular may be passed to people via contaminated poultry meat. In a one-year longitudinal study retail chicken, turkey and pork purchased from every major grocery chain in Flagstaff, Arizona were analyzed. During that time, the team also collected and analyzed urine and blood isolates taken from patients seen at Flagstaff Medical Center.
Research found E. coli in nearly 80% of the 2,452 meat samples and in 72% of the positive urine and blood cultures from patients in the study. Their research further discovered that that almost all of the E. coli ST131 on the poultry products belonged to a particular strain called ST131-H22 and carried genes that helps E. coli thrive in birds. This same poultry-adapted strain was also found to be causing UTIs in people.
Poultry products are not routinely tested for the kind of E. coli strains that can cause UTIs. These findings underscore the importance of choosing organic, free range poultry, cooking it thoroughly and handling it carefully in the kitchen. As far as preventing E. coli in chicken coops, we need a better system developed to raise chickens so they are not raised in crowded conditions and prone to diseases like E. coli.
The healthier the living conditions for your food, the healthier the food will be for you! It always seems to come down to the quality of your food, doesn’t it?
If you suffer with frequent UTIs do you think there could be a connection here?
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