Socks before shoes in bacterium hunt
In a bid to find out if the natural environment is a direct source of exposure to Campylobacter, scientists at the University of Liverpool, UK, got volunteers to wear socks over their shoes while walking in the countryside. Campylobacter is a bacterium often associated with food poisoning, which can cause diarrhoeal disease, so there are fewer studies on other causes of infection. However, food-transmitted infections cannot explain the seasonal peaks across the UK, and previous studies showed that the peak appears to be more obvious in some parts of the country than others. The new citizen science study revealed that Campylobacter was more prevalent in the North West of the UK than in East Anglia – and it seems this may be linked to the higher number of livestock being raised in the North West. The results from this research could help with finding ways to reduce the risk of disease for people.