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Jason Tetro

Microbiology, Health & Hygiene Expert

Since he was a teenager, Jason Tetro has called the laboratory his second home. His experience in microbiology and immunology has taken him into several fields including bloodborne, food and water pathogens; environmental microbiology; disinfection and antisepsis; and emerging pathogens such as SARS, avian flu, and Zika virus. He currently is a visiting scientist at the University of Guelph.

In the public, Jason is better known as The Germ Guy, and regularly offers his at times unconventional perspective on science in the media. Jason has written two books, The Germ Code, which was shortlisted as Science Book of The Year (2014) and The Germ Files, which spent several weeks on the national bestseller list. He has also co-edited, The Human Microbiome Handbook, which provides an academic perspective on the impact of microbes in human health. He lives in Toronto.
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The Flu May Be Trickier Than We Thought

It's the middle of flu season and as expected, the virus is making its way through Canada. Thousands of people are struggling with the coughs, fever, and fatigue and looking for ways to deal with the weeks of suffering. Recently, a group of American researchers have shown a new means by which flu can survive and spread.
01/13/2017 01:18 EST
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Keep Your New Year's Eve Party Hygienic

In Canada, the December marks the arrival of several infectious respiratory viruses, such as the dreaded influenza virus. Depending on what part of the country you call home, other names such as rhinovirus, adenovirus, respiratory syncytial virus, coronavirus, and human metapneumovirus are circulating amongst the population.
12/28/2016 09:09 EST
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'Proteobiotics' May Keep Your Dog Healthy

Research into the gastrointestinal health of dogs has revealed their microbial populations are quite different from ours. However, being mammals, their microbial populations develop in the same way as us. This also means they can benefit from a selection of bacterial species known to convey a health benefit otherwise known as probiotics.
12/19/2016 11:06 EST
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How A Scarf (Or Necktube) Will Save You From Germs

As the temperature continues to plunge this winter, many Canadians will turn to scarves -- and more recently necktubes -- to keep their necks and faces warm. These swatches of fabric ensure those areas left open by jackets and coats are kept safe from the prevailing winds and wayward flakes of snow. Yet, they may serve another purpose as protectors of our health.
12/12/2016 04:40 EST
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How Microbes May Control Our Body's Inner Clock

Though the circadian rhythm is hard to control directly, researchers have learned it can be trained indirectly through diet. By switching the timing and content of meals, we can change that inner clock to better reflect the world outside. How exactly food can change our rest patterns happens has been difficult to figure out yet over the past few years, one particular culprit has been identified: our microbial population.
12/05/2016 07:41 EST
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Probiotics May Help Alzheimer's Patients

The premise of a microbial-brain link suggests restoring gut microbial balance might be able to improve a healthy brain. Yet, figuring out the best method to accomplish this goal has been a challenge. One of the more promising routes involves fecal transplantation. Yet this method has yet to gain significant approval and has not been tested in regards to Alzheimer's disease.
11/21/2016 02:52 EST
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Psychobiotics Could One Day Relieve Your Stress

Defining a role for microbes in stress has represented a major shift in the concept of dealing with this intrinsic part of daily life. By using probiotics with mental health benefit -- also known as psychobiotics -- people may be able to alter their stress levels by ingesting a probiotic formula.
11/14/2016 12:01 EST
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Discovering The Microbial Makeup Of Kefir

Depending on the species of bacteria used, the benefits of Kefir can range from antioxidant activity to immune balance and in some cases, prevention of tumours. Yet, while these benefits continue to be discovered, there is a caveat. The microbiological composition of kefir grains differs around the world meaning no two are going to provide the same benefits. This could lead to incorrect assumptions of the positive effects on health.
10/17/2016 11:22 EDT
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Here's Why People Avoid The Flu Vaccine

The rate of vaccine acquisition has remained relatively stable over the years suggesting the majority of Canadians are not raising their sleeves. While there is little doubt the vaccine is an excellent means to prevent infection, this message appears to be diluted by a number of other factors. For those responsible for ensuring the safety of Canadians the low turnout requires a more in-depth analysis to find a solution.
10/11/2016 09:03 EDT
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5 Ways You Can Help Prevent The Post-Antibiotic Era

The concept of tolerance isn't relevant only in the microbial world. All biological life has the ability to tolerate, including humans. A perfect example of this phenomenon occurs in those able to eat hot, spicy foods. You might think they are simply born with stronger tongues. But that isn't the case. Instead, in most cases, a biochemical modification has occurred in one of the proteins found on the tongue.
10/03/2016 10:43 EDT
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When Influenza Attacks, It Causes A Cellular Coup d'État

Much like any viral infection, the invasion leads to a shutdown of normal processes as the virus uses up all the nutrients and resources to make more copies. Yet the mechanism of this takeover has been for the most part a mystery. That may change as a group of Israeli researchers have provided a glimpse at how influenza takes over the cell.
09/26/2016 11:38 EDT
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What We Can Learn From Hillary Clinton's Pneumonia

For any public health official, this is a frustrating example of what happens when people don't heed the advice of a doctor. When the presidential candidate was first diagnosed, she should have rested, stayed hydrated, and followed her doctor's advice in terms of medication. It was standard protocol. But she didn't heed the advice. Instead, she kept on with her campaign thinking it was no big deal. She felt she could push through the pneumonia. She learned the consequences the hard way.
09/19/2016 09:54 EDT
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Are We At The Beginning Of The End For This Antibacterial?

Over the last few years, triclosan has been the subject of much debate. Those in favour of these products hail their ability to keep bacteria at bay. Those against suggest there is no real benefit in everyday consumer home use whereas the risks -- both to humans and the environment -- are too great.
09/12/2016 11:17 EDT
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Back To School? More Like Back To Germs

Like clockwork, September brings a return to school -- and right after, the amount of respiratory infections handled by doctors goes way up. Although this increase is common, it doesn't have to affect you. After all, for the most part, getting sick is preventable. All one needs to do is understand how these infections are spread and then employ the necessary hygiene steps to stay safe. Granted, they are not perfect but can significantly reduce the risk of having to stay home to heal.
09/06/2016 09:15 EDT