HONOLULU (KHON2) — A new study indicates that meats used in food production and consumption are responsible for the spread of Escherichia coli infections, commonly known as E. coli.
In the U.S., between 30,000 and 40,000 people die each year from E. coli bloodstream infections. Some of these bloodstream infections have been linked to urinary tract infections, and these UTIs may be linked to E. coli found in meat produced by what is known as ‘food animals’.
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Chickens, turkeys and pigs are the most commonly slaughtered animals used in consumed meats that were tracked in this study.
Researchers discovered that foodborne zoonotic strains of E. coli are associated with asymptomatic bacteriuria, urinary tract infections and sepsis.
UTIs begin in the urethra and spread to the bladder. Gone untreated, they migrate to the kidneys which instantaneously gives the infection access to our blood stream.
Once an infection makes it to our bloodstream, we can go into sepsis and run the high risk of death.
The researchers said that their study demonstrates that between 480,000 and 640,000 people in the U.S. each year develop a UTI through their consumption of food animal meats.
To make matters worse, the foodborne zoonotic strains of E. coli discovered is resistant to antibiotic treatments and are on the verge of becoming fully resistant to all treatments.
Once an infection is resistant to treatment, there are no ways of preventing the spread of the infection which eventually leads to death.
UTIs, according to the Urology Care Foundation, are not just a problem for women. They found that 10 in 25 women and 3 in 25 men will develop symptoms associated with a UTI in their lifetime.
The link between E. coli infections and meats is not a logical jump that is common to make. With typical foodborne illnesses, there is a somewhat immediate impact on the body which indicates to us that something was wrong with the meat.
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But, for UTIs that develop due to E. coli infections from consumed meats, there is a delay in the body’s reaction, making it more difficult for the person infected to trace the link.