Foodborne bacteria may cause half a million UTIs each year: Study

 E. coli strains from meat products might be responsible for up to 640,000 urinary tract infections in the U.S. every year, according to a new study from researchers at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. 

The study was recently published in One Health and involved 1,188 samples from humans and 1,932 samples from meat, including chicken, turkey and pork. Using these samples and a new genomic approach, researchers estimated the bacteria from meat sources caused between 480,000 and 640,000 urinary tract infections every year. Overall, researchers estimate 8 percent of UTIs caused by E. coli — which most are — are acquired from meat. 

"E. coli bacteria adapts to its host, so each sample of bacteria we found had its own packet of DNA," Lance Price, PhD, one of the study authors and a professor of environmental and occupational health at GWU, told The Washington Post. "We then developed a statistical model which analyzed all that DNA and predicted whether that bacteria came from an animal, and if so, which animal."

The study has "substantial" implications for public health, researchers said. The new understanding of how a foodborne infection can show up is also paving the way for new interventions. 

"We have identified the really risky strains of E. coli in animals," Dr. Price said. "And now we can vaccinate them against these specific bacteria, resulting in a win-win for public health as well as the animal industry." 

Copyright © 2024 Becker's Healthcare. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy. Cookie Policy. Linking and Reprinting Policy.


Featured Whitepapers

Featured Webinars