Did your urinary infection come from a chicken coop?

October 9, 2017 by Karen Pallarito, Healthday Reporter

(HealthDay)—Could ingesting undercooked poultry give you a urinary tract infection?

Maybe. Although exactly how it might happen isn't clear, say researchers at the University of California, Berkeley and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention who investigated a possible foodborne source of these common infections.

Their interest was sparked by earlier Berkeley research suggesting a link between some drug-resistant UTI cases and a certain strain of E. coli bacteria.

E. coli are a type of bacteria that live in the intestines of humans and animals. Most of these bugs are harmless. But some types of E. coli cause infection. In the worst cases, E. coli infection can lead to kidney failure and even death.

Researchers used E. coli from meat products and urine samples from people with UTIs to look for a possible mechanism of transmission.

"When we compared the fingerprints of the E. coli from the poultry and the human UTI cases, we found there's an overlap of some genotypes," said study author Dr. Lee Riley, a professor of infectious disease at Berkeley's School of Public Health.

"We need to somehow explain why UTI cases have the same E. coli we find in poultry," said Riley.

His hypothesis? Some of the UTI patients are getting infection from meat.

UTIs cause pelvic pain or burning with urination, a frequent urge to urinate, possible fever and other symptoms. Women have shorter urethras than men, and they tend to experience UTIs more often, according to the American Urological Association.

Dr. Aaron Glatt is chairman of the department of medicine at South Nassau Communities Hospital in Oceanside, N.Y. He wasn't involved in the study, but said the results are interesting. They show a link but don't prove cause and effect, however.

"It's certainly something that requires additional study," he added.

Researchers don't yet know how the infection might be transmitted from the meat to people. Both Glatt and Riley suspect that UTI patients are consuming poultry that either isn't fully cooked or they're not using appropriate guidelines for handling raw meat.

Riley and his team collected urine specimens from UTI patients—mostly women—at one health center in Northern California between September 2016 and May 2017. During the same time, they recovered E. coli from meat samples acquired through a federal meat surveillance program, also in Northern California.

Of 1,020 urine samples in the study, 21 percent had E. coli. The infection-causing bacteria was also found in 38 percent of 200 meat samples examined.

About a third (32 percent) of the chicken samples and 14 percent of turkey samples contained bacterial strains identical to those found in UTI patients.

"For some reason, poultry seems to be contaminated more than other meat samples," Riley said.

The bacteria found in poultry could account for a substantial proportion of UTI cases, Riley said. But since the study was based on findings in one region of California, he and his team were unable to extrapolate the findings nationwide.

Glatt advised people who are prone to recurrent UTIs to practice proper hand hygiene and safe food preparation. Wash cutting boards and knives used to slice raw meat. Avoid cross-contamination that may occur when using the same utensils to cut meat and chop veggies.

Any type of poultry should be cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees F, according to FoodSafety.gov.

The researchers presented the findings Friday at ID Week 2017, the annual meeting of the Infectious Diseases Society of America, the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America, the HIV Medicine Association and the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society.

Research presented at meetings is generally considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed publication.

Explore further: Bacterial contamination rife in retail store ground turkey

More information: Lee Riley, M.D., professor, infectious disease, University of California Berkeley School of Public Health; Aaron Glatt, M.D., chairman, department of medicine, South Nassau Communities Hospital, Oceanside, N.Y.; Oct. 6, 2017, presentation, ID Week 2017, San Diego, More Information

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has more on preventing foodborne illness.

Related Stories

Bacterial contamination rife in retail store ground turkey

May 3, 2013
(HealthDay)—Ground turkey from retail stores is often contaminated with fecal bacteria, and in many cases the bacteria are resistant to antibiotics, according to a report published in the June issue of Consumer Reports.

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 ...

High levels of antibiotic-resistance in Indian poultry farming raises concerns

July 20, 2017
A new study from India raises questions about the dangers to human health of farming chicken with growth-promoting antibiotics—including some of the same drugs used in raising millions of chickens in the United States and ...

'Superbugs' study reveals complex picture of E. coli bloodstream infections

July 18, 2017
The first large-scale genetic study of Escherichia coli (E. coli) cultured from patients with bloodstream infections in England showed that drug resistant 'superbugs' are not always out-competing other strains. Research by ...

Hospital food safety measures reduce risk of contaminated hospital food

March 7, 2014
A new study found more than 80 percent of raw chicken used in hospitals in food for patients and staff was contaminated with a form of antibiotic resistant bacteria called extended-spectrum beta-lactamase (ESBL) producing ...

Pennsylvania's Marcho Farms recalls meat over E. coli scare

May 5, 2017
An eastern Pennsylvania business is recalling more than 5,600 pounds of boneless veal, ground veal, beef and pork because of concerns it may be tainted with a potentially deadly E. coli bacteria.

Recommended for you

Screening could catch a quarter of hip fractures before they happen

December 15, 2017
Community screening for osteoporosis could prevent more than a quarter of hip fractures in older women - according to new research led by the University of East Anglia (UEA).

New cellular approach found to control progression of chronic kidney disease

December 15, 2017
Researchers have demonstrated for the first time that extracellular vesicles - tiny protein-filled structures - isolated from amniotic fluid stem cells (AFSCs) can be used to effectively slow the progression of kidney damage ...

Testing shows differences in efficacy of Zika vaccines after one year

December 15, 2017
(Medical Xpress)—A large team of researchers with members from Harvard Medical School, Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, Bioqual Inc. and MIT has found that the efficacy of the three types of Zika vaccines currently ...

How to regulate fecal microbiota transplants

December 15, 2017
(Medical Xpress)—A small team of researchers at the University of Maryland, some with affiliations to the Veterans Affairs Maryland Health Care System, has written and published a Policy Forum piece in the journal Science ...

Urine test developed to test for tuberculosis

December 14, 2017
(Medical Xpress)—An international team of researchers has developed a urine test that can be used to detect tuberculosis (TB) in human patients. In their paper published in Science Translational Medicine, the group describes ...

40 years after first Ebola outbreak, survivors show signs they can stave off new infection

December 14, 2017
Survivors of the first known Ebola outbreak, which occurred in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 1976, may be key to development of vaccines and therapeutic drugs to treat future outbreaks, according to a new study ...

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.