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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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Meet <em>Escherichia albertii</em>, A Pathogen To Watch

There are only two routes to go forward to ensure public safety. The first is to examine how the bug grows in the lab and identify any possible differences from E. coli. There are a few but they could take time to detect and may not be valuable should an outbreak occur. The other is to use genetic methods to identify the bacterium based on its DNA.
11/16/2015 03:27 EST
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There May Be A Social Reason For The 'Man Cold'

It's about that time of year when those cold and flu viruses will be making yet another surge across the country. For most of us, this will be just another moment where we've caught a bug. But for some, particularly men, the experience may cause a unique consequence more commonly known as the "man cold."
11/09/2015 08:39 EST
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Probiotics May Be The New Vaccines

Probiotics offer a host of potential benefits ranging from better digestion to improved weight management and even better mental health. But until recently, no one has mentioned vaccines. Yet, a probiotic oral vaccine may one day be our route to protection against infection.
11/01/2015 09:25 EST
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How Yeast Influences the Flavour of Your Wine

There is another significant contributor to terroir although never given its due credit: microbes. Soil is rich with a combination of bacteria, viruses, and fungi. For years, this variation, particularly in yeasts, has been thought to contribute to the unique taste and flavour of a wine region. But, until recently, no one quite knew how.
10/05/2015 05:07 EDT
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Indoor Plants Are Good for Your Health

All you have to do is bring Mather Nature indoors in the form of plants. For many Canadians, this isn't entirely a new concept. For decades, plants have been brought into the home and office to brighten up the mood and add some colour to an otherwise drab atmosphere. But the benefits are far greater than aesthetics.
09/28/2015 05:36 EDT
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Does Breast Cancer Have a Connection to Cows?

Cancer is the number one killer in this country. In women, breast cancer is the second leading cause of this potentially deadly disease. Researchers across the country and around the world are working tirelessly not only to find a cure but also to find the cause. When it comes to how exactly breast cancer is triggered, the answer is elusive.
09/21/2015 12:18 EDT
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How Microbes Could Give You a Heart Attack

Twenty years ago, heart disease was the number one killer of Canadians. That number has dropped over the years thanks in part to research examining the causes of heart attacks and recommendations for better preventative behaviours. Despite this drop, there is still much to be learned about how heart attacks happen. One of the most studied causes is the atherosclerotic lesion, better known as plaque. This accumulation of cells, fats, minerals, and other organic material tend to accumulate in the arteries as we age. If buildup happens to occur in the coronary artery, cardiac arrest may inevitably happen.
09/15/2015 08:32 EDT
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How Microbes Add Misery to Chronic Sinus Issues

Medically speaking, the condition is called chronic rhinosinusitis and for decades, it has been a mystery. What starts off as the signs of a cold or allergy soon becomes a rather complicated problem for which there are few treatments and even less cures. Most of the time, medications are prescribed but some cases become so dire surgery is needed to help a person finally breathe clear. What makes this ailment so frustrating is the lack of a proper cause. The list of suspects includes genetics, cigarette smoke, and allergies.
08/30/2015 10:28 EDT
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DNA May Be the Hard Drive of the Future

Last week, a story appeared that seemed to come out of the pages of a science fiction novel. A team of researchers in Switzerland developed a new way to store digital data. Instead of hard drives, chips, or crystals, they used the genetic material found in all living organisms, DNA. On top of that, they were able to show the information could last for at least 2,000 years.
08/24/2015 08:19 EDT
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Eating Local Can Help Avoid This Parasite

This past week, another microbial outbreak made the Canadian headlines. This time, the cause was a parasite with a name that sounds like a comic book supervillain, Cyclospora. It's officially known as a protozoan and in the last few months, caused 83 cases with a few requiring hospitalization. From a public health perspective, Cyclospora has for the most part spread under the radar of the media. Despite the apparent novelty of the infection right now, the parasite has been a common visitor to Canada and had made many visits in the last 20 years.
08/16/2015 10:31 EDT
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How Bacteria Could Help Weight Loss Surgery Success

Controlling obesity is never an easy prospect and for some, the best option is to undergo bariatric surgery. The practice has been around since the 1960s and involves restricting the volume of the stomach either with a band or through surgical removal of a large part of the stomach organ. There's also another factor in determining the benefit of this surgery: the microbes living in the gut. The tens of trillions of bacteria can also be affected by the change. Although this was known hypothetically for years, in 2010, it was shown for the first time.
08/09/2015 10:31 EDT
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We Now Know the Reasons Behind "Fearbola"

It's been less than a year since the dreaded Ebola virus appeared on North American soil. In a matter of a few weeks, the virus went from being someone else's problem to a homeland threat. In the process, media headlines captured the attention of millions and struck fear into most of them. But Fearbola, as it was coined, was completely unnecessary. Last week, a report came out detailing exactly how the public responded to the Ebola crisis in the United States.
08/04/2015 12:31 EDT
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We Now Know the Reasons Behind "Fearbola"

It's been less than a year since the dreaded Ebola virus appeared on North American soil. In a matter of a few weeks, the virus went from being someone else's problem to a homeland threat. In the process, media headlines captured the attention of millions and struck fear into most of them. But Fearbola, as it was coined, was completely unnecessary. Last week, a report came out detailing exactly how the public responded to the Ebola crisis in the United States.
08/04/2015 12:31 EDT
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How Fish Oil Can Be Sourced From Weeds

Long before the health movement became popular, fish oil was recognized as a healthy part of a nutritious diet. The actual benefit didn't really become known until the 1970s when ingestion of these oils apparently led to better cardiovascular health. Within a few decades, the oil (as well as the fish itself) was suggested as a means to keep heart disease at bay. Today, we know of several chemicals contained within the oil that improve our health. Some of the best are the omega-3 fatty acids.
07/19/2015 11:52 EDT