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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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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
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Here's How To Reduce Antibiotic Use In Agriculture

It's no secret we are in an antibiotic resistance crisis. Warnings about the looming post-antibiotic era are everywhere and people are being asked to help in whatever way they can. Yet, while we can all work to reduce the amount of antibiotics used in medicine, these achievements represent only a small fraction of the work that needs to be done.
08/29/2016 07:45 EDT
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What's The Best Way To Deal With West Nile Virus?

There are many welcome hallmarks to summer, such as the longer days and pleasant temperatures. Yet, summer also brings unwanted risks like damaging storms, oppressive heat waves, forest fires, and drought. One of the least favoured recurrences is the rise in mosquito populations and the potential for West Nile Virus infection.
08/15/2016 12:53 EDT
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It's Official! Gargling With Salt Water Actually Works

Although most people believe this is an effective way to maintain oral health, particularly when gums are injured, there has been an absence of actual evidence to suggest this does anything other than offer a brief sensation of relief (which admittedly may be enough). But last week, science finally caught up with grandma.
07/29/2016 04:27 EDT
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Antibiotics Are Probably Not An Option To Combat Obesity

At first glance, obesity may appear to be an easy problem to resolve. After all, most people may believe the answer lies in eating fewer calories and exercising more. While these are definitely helpful, obesity is an incredibly complex issue, and involves a number of factors ranging from genetics to socioeconomic status. So can antibiotics help?
07/25/2016 01:09 EDT
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Nanoparticles May One Day Replace Antibiotics

The mere mention of nanotechnology may raise eyebrows. Yet worries should not be based on size but molecular composition instead. If a particle is made from plastic or heavy metals, concern is definitely valid. However, polylactic acid nanoparticles are biodegradable, making them perfect for use both in the environment and also in the body.
07/18/2016 11:56 EDT
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On July 9th, Celebrate Health The Nunavummiut Way

Though Canada Day has come and gone, there's still a good reason to keep the good feelings alive. On July 9th, Nunavut will be celebrating its 23rd birthday and the rest of our country is invited to join in the festivities. Not only will it mark a special day for our youngest territory, but it will also laud the people who have lived the longest in this great land.
07/04/2016 06:44 EDT
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Meet The Molecule That Supercharges Cancer-Killing Viruses

Since the turn of the millennium, the fight against cancer has seen significant progress in all areas of treatment. One of the most promising routes happens to be through a process known as oncolytic virotherapy, or simply OV. The term may be a mouthful but the process at its core is incredibly simple and effective.
06/06/2016 10:17 EDT