Where do bladder infections come from? Back in the ’70s, longitudinal studies of women over time showed that the movement of rectal bacteria into the vaginal area preceded the appearance of the same types of bacteria in the urethra before they were able to infect the bladder. However, it would be another 25 years before genetic fingerprinting techniques were able to confirm this so-called fecal-perineal-urethral theory, indicating that E. coli strains residing in the rectal flora serve as a reservoir for urinary tract infections.
And it would be another 15 years still before we tracked it back another step and figured out where that rectal reservoir of bladder infecting E. coli was coming from—chicken. Researchers were able to capture these extraintestinal (meaning outside of the gut), pathogenic, disease-causing E. coli straight from the slaughterhouse, to the meat, to the urine specimens obtained from infected women. We now have “proof of a direct link between farm animals, meat, and bladder infections,” solid evidence that urinary tract infections can be a zoonosis (an animal-to-human disease). We’re talking millions of women infected a year, costing over a billion dollars.
Even worse, researchers have detected multidrug resistant strains of E. coli in chicken meat resistant to some of our most powerful antibiotics.
The best way to prevent bladder infections is the same way you can prevent all types of infections, by not getting infected in the first place. It’s not in all meat equally—beef and pork appear significantly less likely to harbor bladder-infecting strains than chicken.
Can’t you just use a meat thermometer and cook the chicken thoroughly? We’ve known for 36 years that it’s not always the meat, but the cross-contamination, that causes the infection. If you give people frozen chickens naturally contaminated with antibiotic resistant E. coli, let people prepare and cook it in their own kitchen as they normally would, the bacteria ends up in their rectum even if they don’t actually consume the meat. That’s how they know it was cross-contamination, because the jump happened after the animal was prepared but before it was eaten. In one study five different strains of antibiotic resistant E. coli jumped from the chicken to the volunteer.
The coldest air of the season so far and some snow will pour into the northwestern United States by early next week.
Arctic air settling over Germany may prompt children to leave their shoes for St. Nicholas indoors instead of outside before going to bed on Monday night.
A deadly wildfire exploded in Tennessee this week, charring a popular resort town and causing devastating damage.
On the heels of Cyclone Nada, a new and more significant tropical cyclone threatens to take aim at India next week.
Dashing hopes for Christmas Day snowmen and white rolling hills, forecasters predict Britain's weather pattern will leave more to be desired on Dec. 25.
Rounds of heavy rain will heighten the risk for flash flooding across portions of the southern United States through the weekend.
As colder air sweeps into the northeastern United States, temperatures will settle to seasonable levels, and lake-effect snow will erupt into this weekend.
Thousands of firefighters from across the country answered the call to help save the South, not just on the front lines but also back in camps supporting those out among the flames.
A tranquil beginning to December will be replaced by unsettled weather ahead of the holidays.