The largest cause of bacterial bloodstream infections in the UK is not associated with uncooked meat as we thought

Uncooked chicken has a reputation problem where germs are concerned, and rightly so. But new research from the University of East Anglia, published in The Lancet: Infectious Diseases, finds that people not washing their hands may be a leading cause in the spread of E coli in the UK.

“Let’s be clear about E coli,” says Prof David Livermore, who led the research. “We all have harmless E coli that live in our gut. Additionally there are some strains that can cause diarrheal diseases, ranging from the mild to the severe. These aren’t associated with poor kitchen hygiene and food preparation … what we’ve shown is that the antibiotic-resistant strains of E coli that cause bloodstream infections – the ones that are difficult to treat – are the ones that are often found in people’s guts. So people are carrying this E coli about.”

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