Contaminated chicken may cause UTIs

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Chickens Harbor <i>E. coli</i> Found in Human UTIs
Chickens Harbor <i>E. coli</i> Found in Human UTIs

HealthDay New -- Retail purchased chicken may be the source of extraintestinal pathogenic Escherichia coli  that causes human urinary tract infections (UTIs), study data indicate.

Genetic similarities have been found between E. coli from slaughtered animals, principally chickens, and extraintestinal pathogenic E. coli that causes UTIs in humans, Catherine Racicot Bergeron, of McGill University in Montreal, and colleagues reported in Emerging Infectious Diseases.

They tested 320 E. coli isolates from beef and pork, and also tested whether the E. coli reservoir  in humans could be food animals by comparing geographically- and temporally-matched E. coli isolates from 475 humans with UTIs and from cecal contents of 349 slaughtered animals.

The researchers found that isolates of E. coli from beef and pork were significantly less likely than those from chicken to be genetically related to isolates of E. coli from humans with UTIs. There were genetic similarities between E. coli from slaughtered animals, principally chickens, and the extraintestinal pathogenic E. coli that causes UTIs in humans.

"Extraintestinal pathogenic E. coli transmission from food animals could be responsible for human infections, and chickens are the most probable reservoir," the researchers wrote.

Bergeron CR et al. Emerg Infect Dis. 2012;doi: 10.3201/eid1803.111099.

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