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What Doctors Don't Tell You

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July 2020 (Vol. 5 Issue 5)

Cook that chicken through
About the author: 
Bryan Hubbard

Cook that chicken through image

If you like to eat chicken, make sure it’s cooked all the way through. Undercooked chicken can harbour the bacteria that cause Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS), the nervous system disorder characterised by muscle weakness, co-ordination problems and unsteadiness, and may even lead to paralysis.

It's the first time that scientists have made the connection between undercooked chicken and the bacteria, Campylobacter jejuni. The bacteria can survive if the internal temperature of the chicken meat is low enough, say researchers at Michigan State University.

The bacteria are resistant to antibiotics, and the researchers fear that the drugs may even make the condition worse. They can aggravate neurological problems, lesions and increase immune antibodies that can attack organs and tissues.

There are other bacteria and viruses that also cause GBS, including the Zika virus. Campylobacter jejuni infects more than a million people in the US every year, and it can also trigger other auto-immune disorders such as inflammatory bowel disease and Reiter's arthritis.


(Source: Journal of Autoimmunity, 2016; doi: 10.1016/j.jaut.2016.09.003)

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