Red Meat & Childhood IntelligenceAugust 20, 2017
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Deadly Salmonella Infections from Red Meat -
A Good Reason to Abstain
Salmonella, a rod-shaped bacteria, is a major cause of enteric illness in both humans and animals. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), this organism causes an estimated 1.4 million cases of salmonellosis in United States citizens each year.
There are over 2,400 different sub-species of Salmonella. Recently, one of these sub-species, called Salmonella Dublin, has been showing up in red meat. It is usually found in cattle, and the infection it causes often kills cows, especially calves. Unlike most Salmonella, the Dublin species is exceptionally dangerous for one key reason: it is extremely difficult to kill even with our best antibiotics. In addition, there is no vaccine or known effective cure. Salmonella Dublin infection is growing throughout the world. People who get this condition have longer hospital stays, have more bloodstream infections, and are more likely to die
While most Salmonella bacteria live inside the intestines and the digestive tract, Salmonella Dublin initially infects the respiratory system. This makes it difficult to diagnose in calves and cattle, since calves often have mild pneumonias. In humans, Salmonella Dublin moves from the lungs to the liver and kidneys where it can do significant damage.
Recently, scientists have found that other Salmonella species are present in chicken eggs, even though the egg-laying hens often show no sign of the disease. This is especially worrisome, because it is practically impossible to identify the chickens that have the disease. Researchers found that Salmonella from asymptomatic laying hens can live and thrive in the egg white and yolk. Under-cooked eggs, especially fried eggs with runny yolks, are dangerous. Scientists don’t yet fully understand the mechanism by which these infectious disease organisms move from the hen’s intestinal track into the egg-laying processes of chickens.
Salmonella Dublin infections can be transmitted between people, from animals to people, and from animals to other animals and other species. Salmonella Dublin is a growing threat to public and animal health. One reason for this is our excessive consumption of red meat.
The CDC is urging veterinarians and animal husbandry businessmen to stop using antibiotics to promote growth in food animals. If antibiotics are provided to humans and animals who don’t need them, the bacteria can become resistant to the drugs.
Unfortunately, there is no strong regulation that would require the livestock industry to significantly restrict the unnecessary use of antibiotics in animal husbandry. Because of this, the excessive use of antibiotics and the promotion of resistant bacterial organisms continues unabated.
However, there is one thing you can do to protect yourself from Salmonella Dublin and other similar infectious disease organisms: reduce your intake of red meat. You might want to do the same for chicken and eggs. You can also join us and take The Pledge to reduce your consumption of red meat.