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gnized as one of the leading sources of gastrointestinal disease in humans. One current method of reducing contamination in chicken products involves washing the carcasses in scald water containing hyperchlorite followed by emersion in chilled water tanks, however studies have shown this treatment is not very effective in reducing the presence of human pathogens.

In the study, samples of chicken skin were contaminated with both C. jejuni and bacteriophage, viruses that specifically infect and kill bacteria but are harmless to humans, while a control group received only the bacterium. The samples were stored at fresh and freezing temperatures for ten days. Daily testing results showed significantly less contamination in the bacteriophage samples, especially those kept at temperatures below freezing.

"The fact that phage are able to survive on the surface of chicken skin for a period of at least 10 days when stored under either fresh or frozen conditions is important when considering the potential efficacy and environmental impact of phage therapy on animals that carry campylobacter," say the researchers. "Phage of campylobacter along with their hosts can potentially survive on the retail product until well after its shelf life."

(R.J. Atterbury, P.L. Connerton, C.E.R. Dodd, C.E.D. Rees, I.F. Connerton. 2003. Application of host-specific bacteriophages to the surface of chicken skin leads to a reduction in recovery of Campylobacter jejuni. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 69. 10: 6302-6306.)


GUM DISEASE CONTRIBUTES TO HEART DISEASE

Periodontitis may be a contributing factor in the development of heart disease say researchers from Boston University and Harvard Medical School. Their findings appear in the October 2003 issue of the journal Infection and Immunity.

In the study, rabbits were fed a high-fat diet, one of the main factors contributing to the buildup of cholesterol deposits in
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Contact: Jim Sliwa
jsliwa@asmusa.org
202-942-9297
American Society for Microbiology
15-Oct-2003


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