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Food & Health : Biological Agents Last Updated: Apr 20, 2011 - 9:38:09 AM

DNA tests show chicken and cattle are major source of food poisoning
By David Liu, Ph.D.
Sep 26, 2008 - 7:25:31 AM

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Friday Sep 26, 2008 ( -- Farmed animals like cattle and chicken are the major sources of food poisoning caused by a type of bacterium called Campylobacter jejuni, according to results of new DNA tests which appear on September 26 in the open-access journal PLoS Genetics.


C. jejuni is responsible for more cases of gastroenteritis in the developed countries than any other bacterial pathogen like E. coli, Salmonella, Clostridium, and Listeria combined, The University of Chicago Medical Center says in a press release.


Previous research suggests that both wild and domestic animals are the natural sources for the pathogens, which can survive in water and soil.


The current study led by Daniel Wilson at the University of Chicago sequenced the DNA of bacteria from 1,231 patients and compared it to C. jejuni DNA sequences in bacteria collected from wild and domestic animals and the environment.


DAN sequencing results indicated that 57 percent of the bacteria could be traced to chicken, 35 percent to cattle and the remaining three percent to wild animal and environmental sources.


"The dual observations that livestock are a frequent source of human disease isolates and that wild animals and the environment are not, strongly support the notion that preparation or consumption of infected meat and poultry is the dominant transmission route," Wilson said.

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