Foodborne E. coli menace: Micro organism from meat causes 480,000+ U.S. urinary tract infections annually

Fresh red meat supermarket

A crew of scientists developed a brand new genomic approach to hint the origin E. coli infections. They estimated that 480,000 to 640,000 UTIs within the U.S. annually could also be on account of meals E. coli executives. Whereas it’s recognized that foodborne E. coli could cause diarrhea, the concept that it causes urinary tract infections is comparatively new. The research supplies robust proof that it’s dangerous E. coli The strains are transmitted from meals animals to people via the meals provide, inflicting severe sickness.

A brand new research means that E. coli from meat merchandise could also be accountable for lots of of 1000’s of UTIs within the US annually.

A crew of scientists, led by Lance Worth and Cindy Liu from the George Washington College Milken Institute College of Public Well being, developed a brand new genomic method to hint the origins of E. coli infections. Utilizing this methodology, the crew estimated that between 480,000 and 640,000 UTIs in the US annually could also be brought on by foodborne E. coli executives.

We have been used to the concept that meals E. coli could cause outbreaks of diarrhea, however the idea of foodborne E. coli inflicting urinary tract infections appears unusual, that’s, till you acknowledge that uncooked meat is commonly loaded with E. coli strains that trigger these infections, stated Worth, professor of environmental and occupational well being and director of the GW Antibiotic Resistance Motion Middle, who was beforehand a researcher at Northern Arizona College. Our research supplies exhausting proof that it’s harmful E. coli Strains make their manner from meals animals to people via the meals provide and make folks generally actually sick.

E. coli it’s by far the commonest reason behind urinary tract infections, inflicting over 85 p.c of circumstances annually. Ladies are at higher danger of growing UTIs, which may vary from easy bladder infections to life-threatening blood infections.

Scanning electron micrograph of Escherichia coli

An digital scan thumbnail of it Escherichia coli. Credit score: Nationwide Institute of Allergy and Infectious Ailments, Nationwide Institutes of Well being

E. coli can stay in and infect people and animals, together with animals raised for meat within the US. When meals animals are slaughtered, the micro organism that inhabit their intestines E. colican contaminate meat merchandise and put folks prone to publicity.

Information from the US Meals and Drug Administration (FDA) suggests that almost all of uncooked meat merchandise are contaminated with E. coli. Presently, solely sure varieties of diarrhea trigger E. coliequivalent to E. coli O157:H7, are being intently monitored within the US, however this new analysis means that different strains may pose severe well being dangers.

On this research, researchers collected uncooked hen, turkey, and pork bought from main grocery chains in Flagstaff and remoted E. coli from these meat samples. On the identical time, the researchers, who began the venture whereas working at NAUs Pathogen and Microbiome Institute (PMI), collected urine and blood E. coli isolates from sufferers handled at North Arizona Healthcares Flagstaff Medical Middle for urinary tract infections.

By analyzing the genomes of E. coli from meat and people from people, the analysis crew recognized elements of E. coli

DNA, or deoxyribonucleic acid, is a molecule made up of two lengthy strands of nucleotides that wrap round one another to kind a double helix. It’s the hereditary materials in people and nearly all different organisms that carries genetic directions for development, operate, growth and replica. Nearly each cell in an individual’s physique has the identical DNA. Most DNA is discovered within the nucleus of the cell (the place it’s known as nuclear DNA), however a small quantity of DNA will also be discovered within the mitochondria (the place it’s known as mitochondrial DNA or mtDNA).

“data-gt-translate-attributes=”[{” attribute=””>DNA unique to strains that colonize food animals versus humans, then developed a new predictive model to differentiate E. coli from the two sources.

Previous work by the same team, investigating a single sequence type of E. coli, had linked contaminated meat to urinary tract infections. In the latest study, the team used their new predictive model to look at all E. coli sequence types and showed that about 8 percent of E. coli urinary tract infections in the Flagstaff area could be attributed to meat.

Scaling from Flagstaff to the U.S. population overall, suggests that foodborne E. coli may cause hundreds of thousands of urinary tract infections across the U.S. every year, the researchers note.

This unprecedented study design, based upon intensive food sampling of an isolated community and the engagement of their dominant healthcare provider, is a powerful approach to public health research, Paul Keim, a professor of microbiology at Northern Arizona University and co-author of the study, said. The study design, along with advancements in genomic technologies, allowed us to establish the linkages between food sources and the clinical cases. The conclusions from this model situation will affect public health practices worldwide.

The foodborne E. coli strains identified in the current study were not only associated with urinary tract infections but were also capable of causing serious kidney and bloodstream infections. Left unchecked, E. coli bloodstream infections can be deadly. It is estimated that between 36,000 and 40,000 people die from E. coli bloodstream infections in the U.S. each year, but it is currently not known what portion of these originate from foodborne exposures.

People often dismiss bladder infections as minor annoyances, but the bladder is a major gateway to patients kidneys and bloodstream, said Liu, associate professor of environmental and occupational health co-director of the GW Antibiotic Resistance Action Center and former researcher at PMI. People over 55 and vulnerable populations such as cancer and transplant patients are at the highest risk for life-threatening blood infections, but young, healthy people are also at risk.

The study suggests producers and the FDA could do a better job of monitoring potentially dangerous pathogens in food, most notably raw meat sold in grocery stores throughout the country. At the same time, consumers can take steps to limit their exposure to contaminated food. For example, home cooks should wash their hands carefully when preparing or handling raw meat and use separate surfaces to prepare raw and cooked foods, the authors say.

The study, Using source-associated mobile genetic elements to identify zoonotic extraintestinal E. coli infections, was published online March 23 in the journal One Health. The GW team led a multi-center group of researchers who collaborated on this paper. Northern Arizona University collaborated on the E. coli strain processing and genome sequencing, while the UTI E. coli were collected by the clinical microbiology team at the Flagstaff Medical Center led by former lab manager Lori Gauld. Bioinformatic analysis leading to the source conclusions were performed at GW.

Reference: Using source-associated mobile genetic elements to identify zoonotic extraintestinal E. coli infections by Cindy M. Liu, Maliha Aziz, Daniel E. Park, Zhenke Wu, Marc Stegger, Mengbing Li, Yashan Wang, Kara Schmidlin, Timothy J. Johnson, Benjamin J. Koch, Bruce A. Hungate, Lora Nordstrom, Lori Gauld, Brett Weaver, Diana Rolland, Sally Statham, Brantley Hall, Sanjeev Sariya, Gregg S. Davis, Paul S. Keim, James R. Johnson and Lance B. Price, 28 February 2023, One Health.
DOI: 10.1016/j.onehlt.2023.100518

The study was supported by GW, NAU, the Wellcome Trust, the National Institutes of Health and the Cowden Endowment for Food Microbiology.

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