May 20, 2015
But animal experiments have lent some credence to the theory. Researchers at Texas Tech University in Lubbock have found that guinea pigs fed less virulent strains of listeria are less likely to get sick or die when later fed a more pathogenic strain. And anyone who has visited a country with less than rigorous sanitation knows the locals don't get sick from foods that can cause tourists days of toilet-bound torment.
"We have these tantalizing bits of evidence that to my mind provide pretty good support for the hygiene hypothesis, in terms of food-borne illness," said Guy Loneragan, an epidemiologist and professor of food safety and public health at Texas Tech.