A US study has suggested that certain poultry products bought from grocery stores may have been the cause of urinary tract infections among patients in California.

A research team from University of California, Berkeley found that certain meat samples - particularly poultry -  bought from grocery stores in California, US tested positive with Escherichia coli, of which a number of strains are known to cause UTI.

“[It] suggests that there might be a food-borne source of urinary tract infection,” said Dr Cindy Friedman, study co-author from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Division of Foodborne, Waterborne and Environmental Diseases.

Previous studies have suggested that UTI may have come from food sources, poultry notably.

The latest study is a joint effort of UC Berkeley and US CDC.

In the study, the team collected 200 meat product samples from the grocery stores near the university, as well as collected about 1,000 urine samples from patients infected with UTI from affiliated universities between 2016 and 2017, according to Live Science.

As for the result, the team found that 38 percent of meat samples have E.coli. More specifically, the researchers found that 73 percent of ground turkey meat contained the bacteria, 18 percent came from beef samples, and 15 percent from pork chop samples. Forty three percent of chicken breast samples, meanwhile, contained the bacteria.

E.coli is usually found in the gut and faeces of animals.

Nearly 25 percent of all E. coli strains found in meat products matched those of the patients’.

However, though the researchers found similar strains, they could not tell for sure if the poultry products directly caused the urinary tract infection, as they did not inquire for dietary habits, and they only studied one part of the bacteria’s genome.

But they did suggest that those who do not cook raw meat properly may be contaminating parts of the kitchen. If E.coli comes into contact with the urethra, this could cause urinary tract infection. MIMS

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