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Letter: Feinsinger columns

When I peruse Dr. Greg Feinsinger’s weekly column, I have to read it with tongue in cheek. Like so much of today’s media, including the internet, it seems to be heavy on opinion and light on facts.

For example, in his column on Dec. 13, he states that eating raw fish can transmit viral infections such as hepatitis A; this is misleading. Hep A is a human-specific virus transmitted by fecal-oral route — i.e. from someone who is infected. Fish don’t carry the virus, but raw fish, like many other foods, could be contaminated by food handlers.

Although freshwater fish may contain infectious parasites, salt-water fish are relatively free from human parasites. Likewise, Dr. Feinsinger has earlier stated that eating chicken could transmit viruses to humans. Viruses are very species-specific in their host range. Bird viruses don’t generally infect humans (influenza virus is an exception, usually transmitted as an airborne infection).

In any case, if you are concerned about animal-borne infectious agents, simply eat only cooked meat, including birds and fish. In future columns of Dr. Feinsinger I hope to see more facts (especially from peer-reviewed journals) and less opinion.

Bob Millette
New Castle


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