Retail meat linked to urinary tract infections: Strong new evidence

Jan 20, 2010

Chicken sold in supermarkets, restaurants and other outlets may place young women at risk of urinary tract infections (UTI), McGill researcher Amee Manges has discovered. Samples taken in the Montreal area between 2005 and 2007, in collaboration with the Public Health Agency of Canada and the University of Guelph, provide strong new evidence that E. coli (Escherichia coli) bacteria originating from these food sources can cause common urinary tract infections.

Eating contaminated meat or food does not directly lead to a UTI. While some E. coli such as O157:H7 can cause serious intestinal disease, these E. coli can live in the without causing problems. In women however, the bacteria can travel from the anus to the vagina and during sex, which can lead to the infection.

The research team is also investigating whether livestock may be passing antimicrobial-resistant bacteria on to humans. This is due to the use of antibiotics to treat or prevent disease in the animals and to enhance their growth, which may lead them to develop resistance to the medication. When animals are slaughtered and their meat is processed for sale, the meat can be contaminated with these bacteria.

“These studies might open the door to discussions with policymakers,” Manges said, “about how antibiotics are used in agriculture in Canada. It’s certainly something we need to continue studying”.

The public should not be alarmed. Manges advises that consumers should cook meat thoroughly and prevent contamination of other foods in the kitchen. Although some infections caused by these E. coli are resistant to some antibiotics, the infections can still be treated. Manges hopes that understanding how these bacteria are transmitted will help reduce infections. She also hopes more attention will be focused on how meat is produced in Canada. Her research is part of a broader study concerning food safety and is financed through funding by the Government of Canada, Public Health Agency of Canada, in collaboration with the Laboratory for Foodborne Zoonoses, specifically the Canadian Integrated Program for Antimicrobial Resistance Surveillance, and also the Division de l'inspection des aliments, Ville de Montréal.

Explore further: WHO: Number of Ebola cases passes 10,000

More information: www.cdc.gov/eid/content/16/1/88.htm

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Ridding meat of E. coli

Jul 03, 2008

You may be able to enjoy a rare hamburger soon, thanks to a discovery made by a team of University of Alberta researchers.

Disease-causing Escherichia coli: 'I will survive'

Sep 09, 2009

Strains of Escherichia coli bacteria that cause food poisoning have been shown to have marked differences in the numbers of genes they carry compared to laboratory strains of E. coli. Some of these genes may enable them t ...

Resistant gut bacteria will not go away by themselves

Jun 19, 2007

E. coli bacteria that have developed resistance to antibiotics will probably still be around even if we stop using antibiotics, as these strains have the same good chance as other bacteria of continuing to colonise the gut, ...

Recommended for you

WHO: Number of Ebola cases passes 10,000

2 hours ago

The number of people believed sickened by Ebola has passed 10,000, according to figures released Saturday by the World Health Organization, as the outbreak continues to spread.

NY and NJ say they will require Ebola quarantines

13 hours ago

The governors of New Jersey and New York on Friday ordered a mandatory, 21-day quarantine for all doctors and other arriving travelers who have had contact with Ebola victims in West Africa.

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

CarolinaScotsman
not rated yet Jan 20, 2010
This is why we cook food. The gourmets may frown at my very well done meat, but I don't get bacteria from it. Rare meat can still transmit bacteria.