Each year in the U.S., up to 8 million women are afflicted with urinary tract infections. A growing number of these women—and some men—are infected with antibiotic-resistant versions of E. coli, the intestinal bacterium that is the usual cause of UTIs. A small group of researchers in several countries contend there is persuasive evidence that the origin of the resistant E. coli is coming from poultry. Their research in the U.S., Canada and Europe found close genetic matches between resistant E. coli collected from human patients and resistant strains found on poultry sold in supermarkets or collected from birds being slaughtered. “Medicine certainly does contribute to [antibiotic-resistant bacteria], but there have been studies of other infectious diseases that have implicated animals and antibiotics in propagating certain types of infections,” said Dr. Connie Price, chief of infectious diseases at Denver Health & Hospital.

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