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Take garlic to treat tummy bug

A key ingredient in garlic is 100 times more powerful than two popular antibiotics at fighting a leading cause of food poisoning, scientists have found.

Tests discovered that the compound, diallyl sulphide, can easily breach a slimy protective biofilm employed by the bug to make it harder to destroy.

As Britain sneezes and coughs it way through these dark months of contagious nasties, garlic is being hailed for its powers to halt viruses in their tracks. Credit: sxc

Not only is it a lot more powerful than antibiotics erythromycin and ciprofloxacin, it also takes a fraction of the time to work.

The discovery, published in the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy, could open the door to new treatments for raw and processed meats, and food preparation surfaces, that would reduce the toll of Campylobacter food poisoning.

Dr Michael Konkel, from Washington State University, said: “This work is very exciting because it shows this compound has the potential to reduce disease- causing bacteria in the environment and in our food supply.

“Campylobacter is the most common bacterial cause of food-borne illness in the United States and probably the world.”

Symptoms of the infection include diarrhoea, cramping, abdominal pain and fever.

The bacteria also triggers nearly a third of cases of a rare paralysing disorder called Guillain-Barre syndrome.

Most Campylobacter infections stem from eating raw or undercooked poultry or foods that have been cross-contaminated via dirty surfaces and utensils.

It is the most common cause of food poisoning in the UK, according to the Food Standards Agency, and was responsible for 88 deaths in England and Wales in 2009. - Daily Mail

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