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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. 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, <em>The Germ Code</em>, which was shortlisted as Science Book of The Year (2014) and <em>The Germ Files</em>, which spent several weeks on the national bestseller list. He has also co-edited, <em>The Human Microbiome Handbook</em>, which provides an academic perspective on the impact of microbes in human health. He lives in Toronto.
Read my Lips: Kissing is a Germy

Read my Lips: Kissing is a Germy Affair

<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/jason-tetro/flesh-eating-disease_b_1551111.html"><img alt="2012-05-28-GermGuyBanner.jpg" src="http://images.huffingtonpost.com/2012-05-28-GermGuyBanner.jpg" width="300" height="59" /></a> The mouth is full of germs and all one needs to do is lick a petri dish -- or convince someone else to do so -- to see the amount and variety of microbes that lurk inside the oral cavity. By kissing another person, especially passionately, the transfer of germs is not just likely, it's inevitable...
10/21/2012 11:57 EDT
How Safe Is That Tattoo You're

How Safe Is That Tattoo You're Getting?

The zenith of popularity of any given human activity is the creation of a reality television series based on the practice. This week, tattooing took centre stage as the show Ink Master began its second season. I reached out to tattoo artist Lizzie Renaud, who owns the Toronto-based Speakeasy Tattoo and asked her perspective on the concept of safety in the Tattoo Shop.
10/15/2012 12:24 EDT
Can Licking a Handrail Make You

Can Licking a Handrail Make You Sick?

<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/jason-tetro/flesh-eating-disease_b_1551111.html"><img alt="2012-05-28-GermGuyBanner.jpg" src="http://images.huffingtonpost.com/2012-05-28-GermGuyBanner.jpg" width="300" height="59" /></a>For a teenager in New York City, one dollar was enough to lick the entire handrail of a staircasetes in a subway station. While these stories make for great headlines, there is one underlying question that never seems to be answered: can a contaminated surface lead to actual infection?
10/09/2012 07:43 EDT
The Evil Way Your Eyes Fend Off

The Evil Way Your Eyes Fend Off Germs

<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/jason-tetro/flesh-eating-disease_b_1551111.html"><img alt="2012-05-28-GermGuyBanner.jpg" src="http://images.huffingtonpost.com/2012-05-28-GermGuyBanner.jpg" width="300" height="59" /></a>The eye is a complex organ and has developed a unique means to fight off germs. The eye has its own separate immune function to tackle a potential infection, which is called immune privilege. Research has since learned exactly how these peptides went about killing their enemies although the results are better placed in a Clive Barker novel -- AMPs manifest the well-known concept of death by a million paper cuts...
10/01/2012 12:18 EDT
The Germy Side of Toilet

The Germy Side of Toilet Training

<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/jason-tetro/flesh-eating-disease_b_1551111.html"><img alt="2012-05-28-GermGuyBanner.jpg" src="http://images.huffingtonpost.com/2012-05-28-GermGuyBanner.jpg" width="300" height="59" /></a> The process of convincing a 18- to 36-month-old child to give up the freedom of a diaper and learn to use the strangely shaped porcelain bathroom furniture is not for the faint of heart. While the problems may seem humourous to many, including parents who have already gone through the nightmare, there are potentially germy consequences that need to be considered.
09/24/2012 12:04 EDT
A Master Chef's Tips on Avoiding Germs in

A Master Chef's Tips on Avoiding Germs in Food

<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/jason-tetro/flesh-eating-disease_b_1551111.html"><img alt="2012-05-28-GermGuyBanner.jpg" src="http://images.huffingtonpost.com/2012-05-28-GermGuyBanner.jpg" width="300" height="59" /></a> Monti Carlo, who appeared on Season 3 of the hit show MasterChef. I wanted to find out more about Monti's passion for health and food in the hopes of talking about how to have a germ-free lunch. What I learned was that her relationship with germs had been life-long and that food has led her to a wonderfully balanced lifestyle.
09/17/2012 12:10 EDT
Want to Cure AIDS? We Need More Than

Want to Cure AIDS? We Need More Than Hope

<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/jason-tetro/flesh-eating-disease_b_1551111.html"><img alt="2012-05-28-GermGuyBanner.jpg" src="http://images.huffingtonpost.com/2012-05-28-GermGuyBanner.jpg" width="300" height="59" /></a> The 19th International AIDS Conference was filled with ambitious suggestions that the beginning of the end of AIDS was near. While there were no timelines or promises, hope seemed to be enough to keep the momentum growing. Yet even as these successes were being touted, others were advising that an end to AIDS required more than just hope.
09/10/2012 07:45 EDT
West Nile Virus: The

West Nile Virus: The Sequel

<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/jason-tetro/flesh-eating-disease_b_1551111.html"><img alt="2012-05-28-GermGuyBanner.jpg" src="http://images.huffingtonpost.com/2012-05-28-GermGuyBanner.jpg" width="300" height="59" /></a> Hollywood is not the only place with an increasing their number of sequels. While returning health villains, like West Nile Virus and "Swine Flu 2" continue to represent only a minority of worldwide infections, the future is looking rather glum. There are certain to be more germs that will re-emerge and send us all into a frenzy worthy of a blockbuster's opening day weekend.
09/04/2012 07:45 EDT
Back to School? Back to

Back to School? Back to Germs

<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/jason-tetro/flesh-eating-disease_b_1551111.html"><img alt="2012-05-28-GermGuyBanner.jpg" src="http://images.huffingtonpost.com/2012-05-28-GermGuyBanner.jpg" width="300" height="59" /></a> From the moment they enter daycare to the celebrations of high school graduation, kids inevitably come into contact with these unseen entities and many will get sick. But while there may be endless concerns for health, there is a positive in that these moments of unhappiness will end up benefiting their lives as much as if not more than the pains of homework.
08/26/2012 11:27 EDT
Is Your Anti-Bacterial Handwash Harming

Is Your Anti-Bacterial Handwash Harming You?

<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/jason-tetro/flesh-eating-disease_b_1551111.html"><img alt="2012-05-28-GermGuyBanner.jpg" src="http://images.huffingtonpost.com/2012-05-28-GermGuyBanner.jpg" width="300" height="59" /></a>The term "antibacterial" has been used since the 1940s but only gained a hold of the market in the mid-1990s thanks to the widespread use of the antibacterial agent triclosan. But triclosan has a dark side that has only come to light in the last decade. The scientific literature has been peppered with articles showing the potential side effects to triclosan use.
08/20/2012 07:52 EDT
London Gets the Gold Medal in

London Gets the Gold Medal in Hygiene

<img alt="2012-07-25-olympicbanner.png" src="http://images.huffingtonpost.com/2012-07-25-olympicbanner.png" width="300" height="40" />Far away from the headlines of this headline-grabbing Olympics is an important lesson that can bring solace to almost every germaphobe. Unlike any other Olympics before, these Games have shown that preventing infection is not only possible, but also relatively easily accomplished.
08/12/2012 12:04 EDT
London 2012: The Most Hygienic Games

London 2012: The Most Hygienic Games Ever?

<img alt="2012-07-25-olympicbanner.png" src="http://images.huffingtonpost.com/2012-07-25-olympicbanner.png" width="300" height="40" /> There has been one more bombshell occurring in London -- though it hasn't quiet made the same kind of headlines as Ye Shiwen . In contrast to all the prognostication of infectious diseases outbreaks and epidemics that could potentially lead to a pandemic, including my own, the reality is that germs have played almost no role at the Games.
08/03/2012 07:45 EDT
2012 Olympics: Let the Germs

2012 Olympics: Let the Germs Begin

<img alt="2012-07-25-olympicbanner.png" src="http://images.huffingtonpost.com/2012-07-25-olympicbanner.png" width="300" height="40" />The Games represent a unique opportunity for the world to share its germs and for public health officials to find a way to stem the tide of infection. The fear of germs has recently been raised to a level not seen since the days of SARS or the pandemic flu. It's now a matter of time to see whether the fears will be realized or fade away as the athletic achievements take over.
07/26/2012 05:05 EDT
New York I Love You, But You're Making Me

New York I Love You, But You're Making Me Sick

<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/jason-tetro/flesh-eating-disease_b_1551111.html"><img alt="2012-05-28-GermGuyBanner.jpg" src="http://images.huffingtonpost.com/2012-05-28-GermGuyBanner.jpg" width="300" height="59" /></a> A social event in New York is something that cannot be missed. But it's also the perfect setting to share germs. The centuries of hard work to lessen the impact of germs on human health has worked so well that hygiene itself has been overtaken by other more social concerns, such as a loss of career objectives or the potential for a red carpet photo shoot.
07/23/2012 11:13 EDT
The Household Item That Could Have Cystic Fibrosis Patients Breathing

The Household Item That Could Have Cystic Fibrosis Patients Breathing Easy

<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/jason-tetro/flesh-eating-disease_b_1551111.html"><img alt="2012-05-28-GermGuyBanner.jpg" src="http://images.huffingtonpost.com/2012-05-28-GermGuyBanner.jpg" width="300" height="59" /></a> For people living with cystic fibrosis, breathing can be a significant cause of stress. Earlier this week, a group published a paper highlighting how infection in CF patients may be prevented and possibly treated with a multifunctional chemical known as sodium bicarbonate. Most people tend to call that baking soda.
07/08/2012 11:06 EDT
What the Germs in Your Bellybutton Say About

What the Germs in Your Bellybutton Say About You

<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/jason-tetro/flesh-eating-disease_b_1551111.html"><img alt="2012-05-28-GermGuyBanner.jpg" src="http://images.huffingtonpost.com/2012-05-28-GermGuyBanner.jpg" width="300" height="59" /></a> About 18 months ago, a researcher in the laboratory of a North Carolina State University professor came up with an idea to explore the ecology and evolution of daily life and wanted to find a spot on the body that would be exemplify that. Turns out, it's the bellybutton! The tiny anatomical vestibule was actually a museum of lifetime experiences.
07/03/2012 07:54 EDT
Why I Love Canada: We Are Leaders in

Why I Love Canada: We Are Leaders in Health

<img alt="2012-06-26-canadaflag.png" src="http://images.huffingtonpost.com/2012-06-26-canadaflag.png" width="300" height="55" /> Canada may be better known in the world for hockey and maple syrup but one of the greatest contributions Canada has made to the world is improvement of local and global health. This list epitomizes Canada's role in improving the health of not only Canadians, but also of the world's population.
06/27/2012 08:18 EDT
How Germs Control Your

How Germs Control Your Brain

<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/jason-tetro/flesh-eating-disease_b_1551111.html"><img alt="2012-05-28-GermGuyBanner.jpg" src="http://images.huffingtonpost.com/2012-05-28-GermGuyBanner.jpg" width="300" height="59" /></a> The focus on the mental effects of germs didn't really take hold until the 1980s when HIV patients were beginning to exhibit signs of dementia. This opened up a widespread hunt for other germs that might have deleterious effects on our brain function. What has been found is quite honestly amazing.
06/24/2012 11:25 EDT
The Hyperbole That Caused Global H5N1

The Hyperbole That Caused Global H5N1 Hysteria

<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/jason-tetro/flesh-eating-disease_b_1551111.html"><img alt="2012-05-28-GermGuyBanner.jpg" src="http://images.huffingtonpost.com/2012-05-28-GermGuyBanner.jpg" width="300" height="59" /></a> It all started back in September of 2011 when Dr. Ron Fouchier of Erasmus Medical Center gave a talk in Malta on his experiments with H5N1. A few out of context statements later, the world was facing a panic about a "doomsday pandemic" that didn't exist. Today the article that caused so much panic and dismay has been published and the world now has a chance to see what all the fuss was about.
06/22/2012 12:21 EDT
Bieber Fever: The Scariest Infectious Disease Of

Bieber Fever: The Scariest Infectious Disease Of All

<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/jason-tetro/flesh-eating-disease_b_1551111.html"><img alt="2012-05-28-GermGuyBanner.jpg" src="http://images.huffingtonpost.com/2012-05-28-GermGuyBanner.jpg" width="300" height="59" /></a> Last week, the analysis of this incredibly chilling illness made headlines worldwide. To better appreciate the potential impact of Ebola and other infectious diseases, such as SARS, HIV, and pandemic flu, a University of Ottawa researcher has taken a look at a much more devious disease, which continues to spread worldwide with apparently no end in sight. <em>Bieber Fever</em>.
06/18/2012 01:24 EDT