Bacteria Linked to Hospital Infections Showing Up in Raw Meat

New research found the bacteria linked to infections in hospitals is also present in raw meat.

Bacteria Linked to Hospital Infections Showing Up in Raw Meat
Common bacteria ugurhan/iStock

Bacteria commonly linked to hospital infections is also showing up in raw meat. 

That’s according to a new study by ISGlobal, the research firm that is backed by La Caixa, Spain’s third largest financial institution, academic institutions, and government bodies. The group is tasked with addressing the challenges in the global health market. 

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Studying 138 meat samples from markets in Lima, Peru, ISGlobal said the results suggest raw meat can serve as a reservoir for these pathogenic bacteria. The researchers studied meat samples from poultry, swine, and beef, which were randomly chosen from six markets in Lima. The researchers found 12 Acinetobacter isolates from five different beef samples that were sold at two markets that are independent of each other. 

Acinetobacter ACB Problematic in Hospital Settings

Acinetobacter ACB complex bacteria has become a major problem in hospitals around the world because the bacteria is able to acquire resistance to antimicrobial drugs and disinfectants. But the same bacteria is showing up in food and animals that produce food, acting as a potential source of infection for humans and raising concerns. 

"The identification of bacteria of the ACB group in meat samples is worrying since these species are usually found in the clinical setting," said Ignasi Roca, ISGlobal researcher and study coordinator in a press release announcing the results of the research. "Although all of the isolates were susceptible to clinically relevant antibiotics, and their overall prevalence was low, these results suggest that raw meat may represent a reservoir for Acinetobacter transmission to humans.” 

Researchers Call for One Health Approach

According to ISGloba, the results of the study underscore the fact that bacteria that infects humans can be transmitted through food that is contaminated. As a result, the researchers called for there to be a collaboration between healthcare for humans, animals and the environment under the so-called One Health approach. 

The One Health approach, advocated by the World Health Organization, calls on the design and implementation of programs, policies, legislation, and research in which multiple sectors work together to achieve better health outcomes for the world. It's particularly helpful in food safety, to control diseases that spread between animals and humans and to combat antibiotic resistance, the World Health Organization said.

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“Many of the same microbes infect animals and humans, as they share the ecosystems they live in. Efforts by just one sector cannot prevent or eliminate the problem,” the World Health Organization wrote on its website in describing the One Health initiative. 

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