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Scientists Make a Smartphone App Test That Diagnoses Urinary Tract Infections in One Hour

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are the bane of many folks, to the point that if you’re someone who seems to come down with UTIs regularly, you would do just about anything to make them go away. The thing is, you can’t always tell whether it’s a UTI you’re fighting or any one of myriad other problems “down there” that can have similar symptoms.

If you’re someone who repeatedly ends up in a doctor’s office just to get a UTI urine test, Forbes has good news for you: There’s an app for that. With the app and a lab kit, your smartphone can tell you in an hour whether you have a UTI or not — and thereby let you know whether a doctor’s appointment is necessary.

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are incredibly common, affecting up to 60 percent of women during their lifetime and leading to close to 10 million doctor visits in the U.S. annually. And, while it’s exciting that an app can help you determine whether you have a UTI or not, even more interesting is the news that recent research has found that these infections may actually be a result of a foodborne illness.

In looking at this possibility, investigators did a study of chicken, pork and turkey samples from retail stores and found that nearly 80 percent contained E. coli which, coincidentally, is found in 70 percent of those diagnosed with a UTI. Further investigation revealed that, although foodborne illness is usually associated with vomiting and diarrhea, UTIs are another “symptom” of foodborne illness.

Not only that, it’s firmly believed that most of these foodborne infections are picked up from poultry. Unfortunately, chicken is often considered to be a healthy source of protein, but when you consider the contamination risks that come with eating CAFO (concentrated animal feeding operation) chicken, this is highly debatable.

If you wonder why this is, you need look no further than the particular strain of E. coli researchers found in the chicken they looked at: E. coli ST131 showed up in both the meat samples and the human UTI samples used as comparisons.

The sad fact is many people are not aware that chicken is actually responsible for an alarming number of cases of foodborne illness every year, and chicken is responsible for the most outbreak-associated illnesses. This is particularly concerning, as we are in a time when antibiotic-resistant UTIs are on the rise in the U.S., and therefore any potential contributors deserve to be examined, and CAFO chicken is certainly among them.

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