Entries in Bacteria (4)


Bacteria Fighting Mom Banned from McDonald's

Tim Boyle/Getty Images(CHANDLER, Ariz) -- An Arizona mom who has been banned from eight McDonald’s restaurants because she kept swabbing their play areas in a search for bacteria says she won’t let it keep her from her anti-bacteria campaign.

Erin Carr-Jordan, a university professor specializing in adolescent development, received a hand-delivered letter from a lawyer on Monday listing eight McDonald’s locations where she is no longer welcome.

“It doesn’t mean much to me personally,” Carr-Jordan told ABC News. “I’ve gotten positive responses from parents who said, ‘Hey, I’m not banned, give me swabs!’”

Carr-Jordan, who is a mother of four in Chandler, Ariz., said all eight of the locations are owned by Ernie Adair, who ABC News could not immediately reach for comment.

Her crusade began after she complained to a McDonald’s manager about unsanitary conditions in an indoor play area, and came back a few days later to find nothing had changed.

At that point, Carr-Jordan began swabbing indoor playgrounds around Arizona, and said what she found was alarming.

“Many of these play places are in disgusting condition.  I’ve seen rotting food, hair, stuff stuck to the wall, second-story windows broken,” Carr-Jordan said.

She claims she also found pathogens that can cause a host of serious health issues, including meningitis, gastrointestinal disease and nausea, to name a few.

It’s a subject she feels so passionately about, she’s visited states across the country collecting samples from fast food play areas, spending  “thousands and thousands of dollars” of her own money, and not just at McDonald’s.

“They’re all the same,” she said. “And there are no regulations.”

Through her ‘Kids Play Safe’ movement, Carr-Jordan is hoping to influence lawmakers at the state and federal levels to pass a regulation requiring indoor play places to be regularly disinfected and monitored for safety hazards.

Legislators in California and Illinois have introduced legislation, and Carr-Jordan said she hopes many more will follow suit.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


MRSA 'Superbug' Bacteria Found in Detroit Meat

Chad Baker/Photodisc/Thinkstock(DETROIT) -- First they were riding on bedbugs. Now, drug-resistant superbugs are showing up in supermarket meat. Raw beef, chicken and turkey from Detroit grocery stores contained methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), a sinister strain of bacteria that doesn't respond to typical antibiotics, researchers reported Wednesday.

It may sound scary, but it's no reason to go vegetarian, experts say.

"We've known for a long time that raw meat and poultry purchased in supermarkets can be contaminated with bugs that can make us sick, like salmonella and E. coli. As long as we clean our hands and our utensils and we cook the food, we kill the bacteria," said Dr. William Schaffner, chair of preventive medicine at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville. "Even though this is a new bug, that shouldn't change anything. It should just reinforce all those messages."

The study, reported online Wednesday in Emerging Infectious Diseases -- the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's journal, is not the first to find MRSA in meat. But very few have ever come out of the United States, so it's making headlines nationwide.

"Previous studies have shown MRSA in pork and beef, but we found MRSA poultry in our study," said report author Dr. Yifan Zhang, assistant professor in the department of nutrition and food science at Wayne State University in Detroit, who said she was surprised at the stir her study created.

"The most important thing in this study is, we don't want to scare people," Zhang said. "Overall, the U.S. food supply is safe."

"Wash your hands before and after handling meat, and if you have cuts on your hands, wear gloves," she said, adding that normal soap and cleaning products are sufficient to kill the germ.

MRSA infection rates -- in hospitals and the community at large -- have declined in the past decade, according to CDC statistics. Nevertheless, the study raises important questions about where the meaty MRSA is coming from -- the animals or the humans who handle their meat.

Most healthy people are not at risk for a Staphylococcus aureus infection. In fact, one in three people carries the bacteria on their skin or in their nose and never knows it. But the finding of MRSA in grocery meat should serve as a reminder to keep clean and cook well, Schaffner said.

"We should always remember: The food in our supermarket is not sterile. We live in a germy world and we have to respect that."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Contaminated IV Bags Being Investigated After Nine Die in Alabama

Paul Tearle/Thinkstock(MONTGOMERY, Ala.) -- Amid news that nine patients have died, health officials in Alabama are looking into what caused intravenous feeding bags at multiple state hospitals to become contaminated with bacteria.

The Alabama Department of Public Health said a total of 19 patients have become infected with the bacteria Serratia marcescens after being hooked up to the IV lines.  On Tuesday, they announced that close to half of the patients had died.

The department said the contamination was spotted at six hospitals in Alabama -- Baptist Princeton, Baptist Shelby, Baptist Prattville, Medical West, Cooper Green, Mercy and Select Specialty Hospital.  With help from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the outbreak was traced back to the pharmacy Meds IV.

Meds IV was notified of the contamination and recalled all of its IV bags.  The hospitals affected also stopped using the pharmacy's bags immediately.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


NASA: Life in Space? Not Quite, but Life That Thrives on Arsenic

Photo Courtesy - NASA(MONO LAKE, Calif.) -- Scientists at NASA's Astrobiology Institute report they have found bacteria -- in Mono Lake, Calif., not in space -- that could be made to live on arsenic. The organism is called GFAJ-1. The finding is important because it expands the prevailing view of what it takes for living things to survive.

"Not only did this microbe cope," said Felisa Wolfe-Simon, a NASA astrobiology research fellow at the U.S. Geological Survey, "but it grew and thrived. And that was amazing."

Wolfe-Simon led a team that reported its findings online Thursday in the journal Science.

It all started earlier in the week with a NASA news release that, constrained by the Thursday embargo Science routinely imposes on its weekly editions, included this tantalizing line: "NASA will hold a news conference at 2 p.m. EST on Thursday, Dec. 2, to discuss an astrobiology finding that will impact the search for evidence of extraterrestrial life. Astrobiology is the study of the origin, evolution, distribution and future of life in the universe."

Imaginations ran wild. A New York blogger named Jason Kottke looked up the participants in the news conference and found that several had published research in the past on Mars, arsenic, and Saturn's moon Titan.

"So, if I had to guess at what NASA is going to reveal on Thursday," he wrote, "I'd say that they've discovered arsenic on Titan and maybe even detected chemical evidence of bacteria utilizing it for photosynthesis (by following the elements). Or something like that."

He soon had to take it back, warned off by a writer who knew what the paper actually said. Hundreds of reporters are given advance access to papers in Science on the condition that they honor the journal's embargo.

All of which created an awkward situation, especially when the story took on a life of its own.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


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