profile image

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.
ASSOCIATED PRESS

This Bacterium May Improve Food Security

Last week, a team of Malaysian scientists introduced a fermenting bacterium with the ability to protect food without the need for batches. Based on the results of the study, in the future, all that may be needed is a quick spray and the food would be safe from microbial spoilers.
07/12/2015 09:41 EDT
Shutterstock / Elena Elisseeva

Visiting A Hospital? Clean Your Hands!

When you walk into a hospital or healthcare facility, you can't help but notice how the environment has changed over the years. In the last decade, the industry responsible for our health has taken great strides to improve hygiene. Hand sanitizer stations are everywhere, certain rooms are marked with a variety of notices, and signs regarding handwashing are in every public bathroom. This is all part of infection prevention and control, or IPC.
07/05/2015 10:29 EDT
Getty Images/Flickr RF

Celebrating Beer, a True Microbial Tradition

A tradition that has stood the test of time in Canada and the United States is a love for the yeast-brewed, amber, foamy liquid known universally as beer. It doesn't matter where you are in these countries, you can always be sure to find at least one place where you can grab a pint, mug, bottle or can. The microbial manufacturer responsible for beer, yeast, loves to evolve. Many strains have changed over the years as have the tastes of their final outcomes. However, there is one strain of yeast that has remained exactly the same for over 100 years.
06/29/2015 12:39 EDT
Getty Images

How The Bacteria Up Your Nose Affects Your Health

But viruses are not the only microbes capable of finding their way into the sinuses. A number of bacteria are also capable of not only living in this moist region, but thriving there as well. This collection is known as the nasal microbiome.
06/21/2015 09:04 EDT

Is it Time to Re-Examine the Safety of Our Drinking Water?

In many areas of Canada, like Ontario, the levels of potentially pathogenic microbes can flourish and overwhelm our water treatment system leading to boil water orders or worse, outbreaks. These moments are thankfully rare in part to the addition of a particular chemical, chlorine. For decades, chlorine has been used to keep drinking water safe and is standard practice in many parts of Canada and the world. But it's not a perfect system and faces many hurdles. The most important of these is ensuring water is safe over the tens to hundreds of kilometres of pipes from the facility to the tap.
06/14/2015 10:55 EDT
Corel

Bioconcrete May Be The Future of Construction

Bioconcrete is nearly at the tipping point and appears to be just a few months to years away from being the next wave of concrete development. Although this may start off as a fad, there is good reason to hope it lasts.
05/31/2015 09:25 EDT
shutterstock

This Natural Chemical May Replace Triclosan and Improve Oral Health

Triclosan is the main ingredient in "antibacterial" soaps. It has the ability to kill as well as prevent the growth of harmful microbes. Over the years, the shine of triclosan has faded due to a combination of problems found in the lab. A natural alternative to triclosan has been growing in both presence and popularity.
05/25/2015 08:03 EDT
Shutterstock / kurhan

The Zombie Apocalypse Is Real! For Microbes at Least

Last week, an Israeli team of researchers revealed how a bacterial species can become a "zombie" and then spread it to others causing an apocalypse. Making this observation even more interesting was what they used to trigger the outbreak. It wasn't a living organism. Instead, it was a chemical: silver.
05/10/2015 11:10 EDT
Shutterstock / mast3r

Celebrating Hand Hygiene Day Is Good for Your Health

Disinfection keeps our environment clean. Social distancing allows us to stay clear of those who are contagious. Then there is the use of barrier protection, such as masks, gloves, and yes, condoms, to prevent any chance of a pathogen from harming us. But the best and by far the easiest is a short and sweet practice known as hand hygiene.
05/04/2015 07:25 EDT
serezniy

The Fecal Bacterium You'll Learn to Love

Within your feces is a species of bacteria that may one day be able to help prevent inflammatory disorders including colitis, inflammatory bowel disease and possibly even Crohn's disease. It's known as Faecalibacterium prausnitzii and has the potential to become one of the next generation probiotics.
04/26/2015 10:54 EDT
Getty Images

Probiotics Could Control "Inflammaging"

The trouble with inflammaging is how hard it can be to detect. One of the more popular directions in controlling inflammation involves targeting not human cells but microbial ones. The trillions of bacteria in the intestines are known to play a role in inflammation particularly in the elderly.
04/19/2015 11:33 EDT
shutterstock

Why You Shouldn't Feed The Animals

From parks to backyards, we can expect to see a range of different critters all expecting to find an easy source of food and possibly a home for mating and reproduction. Many of us will appease their needs by offering an assortment of foods ranging from seeds to fruits and vegetables. But that act may be doing more harm than good.
04/12/2015 09:52 EDT
Matthew Leete via Getty Images

Yesteryear's Remedies May Be Tomorrow's Cures

Last week, much ado was made about a fascinating story coming out of the United Kingdom. A thousand year old remedy for a common eye problem -- styes -- was tested in the lab against the pathogen, Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). The concoction was not only effective at killing the bacterium but also outperformed a common antibiotic, vancomycin.
04/05/2015 10:22 EDT
Getty

MRSA Is More Widespread Than You Think

Based on the analysis, the length of time MRSA lingered in a home was between two and eight years. In the process, the bacteria simply transferred within the confines of the home. The presence of MRSA in the community, such as the home or public places, continues to be a concern for public health officials.
03/22/2015 11:58 EDT
Getty Images

Fighting Infections Is No Excuse for More Salt In Your Diet

A study published last week suggested there may be reason to seek more sodium. According to the team of researchers, higher amounts of sodium (one of the two elements found in salt) in the diet may help to fight off skin infections. The results could translate into dietary changes to help prevent unwanted microbial dermal invasions.
03/15/2015 11:15 EDT
ASSOCIATED PRESS

It's Been a Rough Year for the Flu Vaccine

Now that the flu season is coming to an end in Canada, many public health officials will be taking a look back to reflect on the year to see what went right and what went wrong. Upon closer inspection of the details, the problems deal more with unforeseen circumstances than error.
03/08/2015 11:24 EDT
ASSOCIATED PRESS

The Trigger That Turns C. difficile Into A Killer

One of the primary goals in understanding how the bacterium used its toxin to cause disease focused on the nature of bacterial growth in the body. After all, not everyone who was exposed ended up with illness. The first major discoveries revealed the toxin was not produced all the time.
03/01/2015 08:38 EST