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Warning: Bacteria in Uncooked Chicken Poses Risk for Guillain-Barre Syndrome, New Study Shows

Dec 10, 2016 04:00 AM EST
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Does your family love chicken? Make sure you're cooking it properly.

An emerging research from Michigan State University made the shocking discovery that Campylobacter jejuni, which is a common bacteria that has been identified to trigger Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GB) in people, can still thrive in chicken that has not been cooked based on the required minimum internal temperature.

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Strokes defines Guillain-Barré syndrome as an autoimmune disorder in which the body's immune system attacks part of the peripheral nervous system. With initial symptoms including varying degrees of seemingly innocent weakness or tingling sensations in the legs to more extreme ones that can lead to paralysis, GBS is dubbed as the world's leading cause of acute neuromuscular paralysis in humans.

The exact cause of this autoimmune disease is still uncertain, although some country linked elevated GBS incidence after the Zika outbreak. Surgery and vaccination were also mentioned as potential triggers of this disease. "What our work has told us is that it takes a certain genetic makeup combined with a certain Campylobacter strain to cause this disease," Linda Mansfield, lead author and MSU College of Veterinary Medicine professor, said.

The results of the government-funded study, which is published in the Journal of Autoimmunity, also mentioned that most of the strains were antibiotic-resistant, with some antibiotics causing more harm than good. Mansfield now wants to test drugs against GBS in her models, Eureka Alert reports.

"These models hold great potential for discovery of new treatments for this paralysis," Mansfield said. "Many patients with GBS are critically ill and they can't participate in clinical trials. The models we identified can help solve this."

"Of course new treatments would be wonderful, but therapeutics to prevent GBS from developing in the first place would be the best strategy so that people don't have to suffer with paralysis," she explained.

Year after year, over a million Americans are reportedly infected by this disease-causing bacteria. Aside from Guillain-Barre Syndrome, Campylobacter jejuni has also been linked to inflammatory Bowel Disease and Reiter's arthritis, and other similar autoimmune disorders.

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