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UVM Leads Effort to Combat Food-Borne Disease

The University of Vermont College of Medicine has been chosen as the single participating academic medical center in the nation to collaborate with the Navy Medical Research Center (NMRC) and Denmark-based ACE BioSciences in the development and evaluation of a new vaccine against one of the most common food-borne bacteria, Campylobacter. The first study in this multi-part collaboration is a new clinical trial designed to define the illness caused by this bacterium in healthy volunteers. Information from this work will be used to confirm the effectiveness of a new Campylobacter vaccine.

This Campylobacter research initiative is timely in the face of recent food-borne outbreaks due to similar bacteria, such as salmonella and E. coli. Campylobacter infections account for more than two million cases of food-borne illness and up to 100 deaths in the United States each year, as well as $1.5 to 1.8 billion in lost productivity. Infections from Campylobacter, usually occurring after consumption of inadequately cooked chicken, are frequently the most common cause of food-borne disease in the U.S. This species of bacteria also have a high degree of antibiotic resistance, which has increased the importance of vaccine development to prevent this infection. In the U.S., infections with Campylobacter are most common in young children, travelers, and military personnel, but infection is also extremely common in less developed nations.

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