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Poultry and Paralysis

A neuropathic strain of the fecal bacteria Campylobacter found in poultry can trigger Guillain-Barré syndrome, a rapid and life-threatening paralysis.

April 13, 2012 |
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Images thanks to Medlat, National Cancer Institute, Flip Schulke , De Wood, MrArifnajafov  via Wikimedia Commons, and Gino.

Transcript

There is one neurological condition definitively caused by an infectious agent in poultry, Guillaine Barre syndrome. Also known as acute inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy, it’s a brutally rapid, life-threatening auto-immune attack on your nervous system. It’s like MS in fast-forward, where instead of taking years, you can end up paralyzed on a ventilator in a matter of days. Why would our immune system do such a thing?
It didn’t mean to; it had the best of intensions. There is a neuropathic strain of a fecal bacteria called Campylobacter contaminating the U.S. chicken supply. If you get exposed and infected, 999 times out of a thousand you just get sick, food poisoning. No problem, your immune system wipes out the invaders, and in a couple days you’re as good as new. But 1 in a thousand cases our immune system makes an honest mistake.
This is what your nerve cells look like on the outside, molecularly; this is what campylobacter looks like on the outside. Your immune system detects the bacteria, rides in guns ablazin’, take no prisoners, and your nerves end up a victim of friendly fire.
Your first symptom is what’s called acending paralysis. weakness starts in the ahnds and feet and works itsway up. In many cases within hours, days you can’t walk, then you can’t swallow, then you can’t breathe. In which case you’re dead--unless you can get to an ICU with a mechanical ventilator in which case, after about 2 weeks something amazing happens. Your immune system steps back from the fight, surveys the damage, and says uh oh. And it stops and you come back to life. Now sometimes it’s too late and you end up with severe lifelong disability, or you don’t make it that far— kills people even in the best ICUs in the world.
The bottom line is that now that polio is largely a thing of the past, the most common cause of acute paralysis in the United States is , ultimately, chicken consumption.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by veganmontreal.

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Dr. Michael Greger

Doctor's Note

How common is fecal contamination of retail chicken? See Fecal Residues in Chicken, and for meat in general, my video Fecal Bacteria Survey. And for a discussion of other neurological conditions that may be linked to poultry consumption, see yesterday’s video. There's also a strain of E. coli in chicken that causes urinary tract infections: Chicken Out of UTIs. For hundreds of other videos on more than a thousand subjects check out the word cloud.

Please be sure to check out my associated blog posts: Adding FDA-Approved Viruses to MeatGerson Therapy for Cancer?, and Bugs & Drugs in Pork: Yersinia and Ractopamine

  • http://nutritionfacts.org/members/mgreger/ Michael Greger M.D.

    How common is fecal contamination of retail chicken? See Fecal Residues in Chicken, and for meat in general, my video Fecal Bacteria Survey. And for a discussion of other neurological conditions that may be linked to poultry consumption, see yesterday’s video. There’s also a strain of E. coli in chicken that causes urinary tract infections: Chicken Out of UTIs. For hundreds of other videos on more than a thousand subjects check out the word cloud.

  • http://nutritionfacts.org/members/rudys/ RudyS

    According to “The Food Revolution” by John Robbins, anywhere from 70 to 90 percent of store bought chicken has traces of campylobacter.