[The following is an exact transcript of this podcast.]
We all know to wash our hands after handling raw poultry. But next time you’ve just cruised down the interstate behind a truck full of chickens or Thanksgiving turkeys, you might want to wash your car. Because a study led by a team of Johns Hopkins scientists finds that tailgating such feathered cargo can significantly increase your exposure to poultry-borne bacteria. The report appeared in the very first issue of "The Journal of Infection and Public Health," which will publish research on the epidemiology, prevention and control of infectious disease.
In the study, test cars followed poultry trucks as they traveled from farm to slaughterhouse. After these road trips, researchers discovered that the interiors of cars that had their windows down were teeming with a wide variety of bacteria. And many of the bacteria were strains known to be resistant to several common antibiotics. In this age of avian influenza and antibiotic-resistant ‘superbugs,’ scientists are exploring all possible pathways of disease between humans and animals. This case shows just one way to keep from being exposed to pathogens that are truly foul.