Experts Decode Germs’ DNA To Combat Food Poisoning

WASHINGTON (April 6, 2014) The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is beginning a program to thwart food poisoning outbreaks by routinely decoding the bugs' DNA.

The first bug on which they’re working is listeria, which is especially dangerous to pregnant women.

Federal and state officials are sequencing the genomes of all the listeria infections diagnosed in the U.S. this year, along with samples found in tainted foods or factories.

It's the first time the technology has been used for routine disease surveillance, looking for people with matching strains who may have gotten sick from the same source.

CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden calls it a new, more precise way to find and fight infections.

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