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Why not all people are susceptible to foodborne infections and viruses

From stores in 20 US states recall the romaine saladthat can be infected with E. coli. But it often happens that the dish is barely the whole family, and only one fell down with the poisoning. Have you ever wondered why only some people don't get sick during food poisoning outbreaks? Of course, they may not eat the foods that make other people sick, but new research suggests another possible reason: some of us may simply be more resistant to certain malfunctions in our digestive tract. Tells about it Today.

Photo: Shutterstock

According to a Duke University study published in the Journal of Infectious Diseases, resistance to one of the most dangerous bacteria, E. coli, may depend on human DNA.

“These are people whose body, despite contact with E. coli and even its activity, reacts in such a way that they do not get sick,” said study co-author Ephraim Tsalik, assistant professor at Duke University. "It's harder to say what exactly allows them to get rid of bacteria without getting sick."

To better understand which genes may be involved in protecting against bacteria, the researchers took blood samples from 30 healthy volunteers and then asked them to drink a suspension containing E. coli. A few days later, six volunteers developed severe symptoms typical of food poisoning, while six others showed no signs of infection at all. The remaining 18 showed mild to moderate symptoms.

When scientists compared the expression of genes in people without symptoms with those who were severely ill, they found significant differences in the activity of 29 immune genes. And just by looking at these differences, it was already possible to predict who would get sick and who would not.

With respiratory viruses, which include coronavirus, a similar story

The research team also used this method to study respiratory viruses. In these experiments, the researchers found that the immune system in about 50% of people is able to fight viruses without any signs of illness.

According to Tsalik, some genes prevent the disease-causing effects of both E.coli and respiratory viruses, while others are narrower and target bacteria. This means that each family of bacteria and viruses is opposed by its own set of immune genes, so it cannot be said that a person who has never been poisoned with food will have resistance to the flu or coronavirus.

On the subject: What products are familiar to us immigrants cannot find in the USA

“The new study is intriguing,” said Dietrich Stefan, professor and chair of the Department of Human Genetics at the University of Pittsburgh. “But the sample was small. This needs to be replicated in a larger study. I would like to see this with hundreds of patients. "

However, Stefan added: “This suggests that in some of us, the immune system may by default defend us against certain infections.”

Identifying infection-resistant genes may one day lead to the creation of a test that can help determine who is most at risk during a particular disease outbreak. This can help doctors understand whether to give preventive treatment to someone without symptoms, Tsalik said.

Back to the salad recall

If you suspect you have eaten food contaminated with E. coli, here's what you need to know:

  • It usually takes three to four days from eating contaminated food to symptoms, although this may take slightly longer if the food contains only a few bacteria.
  • the first signs of bacterial food poisoning may be cramps and diarrhea, which may be bloody;
  • a small percentage of cases give very serious complications.

If you develop symptoms, you should see your doctor immediately. Early medical attention is extremely important.

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