New tests could hamper food outbreak detection

December 11, 2012 by Lauran Neergaard

It's about to get faster and easier to diagnose food poisoning. But there's a downside: It could make it harder to spot and solve dangerous outbreaks.

Next-generation tests that could reach medical labs as early as next year could shave a few days off the time needed to tell whether E. coli, salmonella or other caused an illness. That could allow doctors to treat diseases more quickly.

The problem is the new tests can't differentiate between bacteria subtypes. That fingerprint is what researchers use to identify the source of the .

Health officials that use the new could still send samples to a lab so that the older, slower test also could be performed. But it's not clear who would pay for that extra step.

Explore further: European E. coli confirmed in Arizona death

shares

Related Stories

Urinary tract infections linked to contaminated chicken

February 20, 2012

Urinary tract infections are common conditions that occur when bacteria from the intestines enter the urinary tract. New research, however, suggests that the bacteria causing these infections may come from contaminated food ...

Recommended for you

Cellphone data can track infectious diseases

August 20, 2015

Tracking mobile phone data is often associated with privacy issues, but these vast datasets could be the key to understanding how infectious diseases are spread seasonally, according to a study published in the Proceedings ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.