Do you or someone you know frequently suffer from urinary tract infections (UTIs)? Your diet, specifically the chicken you’re eating, could be to blame.
UTIs are typically caused by extra intestinal pathogenic Escherichia coli (E. coli). In the past, doctors have always thought that UTIs came from a patient’s own body, but new research hints that contaminated meat, specifically chicken, might be a cause.
The March issue of Emerging Infectious Diseases explains the conclusion of this research, and what people can do to protect themselves from contamination, such as making sure food is properly handled and cooked (or avoid the scare all together and go meat-free!)
The issue explains the genetic analysis comparing E. coli from samples of beef, pork, and chicken with strains obtained from humans seeking treatment for UTIs. Each year, between six and eight million UTIs are diagnosed in the U.S., costing as much as $2 billion for uncomplicated cases.
However, it is still unclear as to if the transmission of the E. coli is through the contamination of food, or if the source is the animal itself. If the latter is true, prevention of human infection may need to start with intervention on chicken farms.
To play it safe, going meat-free is surely the way to go. While going veg has many positives, I would say that the most important is the lack of health scares. UTIs are never fun to have, so why not lower your chances of getting one? Who wants to eat something that has the chance of being contaminated, anyway?
Photo credit: TDIV