A Dublin mother feared she would die after developing a rare neurological disorder from bacteria harboured in infected Irish chicken.
Sandra Loftus was paralysed from the neck down after she developed Guillain-Barre Syndrome, a disorder which stems from food poisoning in extremely rare cases.
"I was cooking dinner for the family and I was doing a chicken stirfry.
"We had the dinner and the next day I felt very, very sick.
“The next day I was very sick I had terrible cramps in my stomach, nausea, diarrhea – it was really bad.
"The Saturday then when I got up the legs just went from under me.
“After a full day in hospital they said to me, ‘Look, just go home, it could be a virus, come back to us if it gets worse.’
“I was paralysed from my neck to my toes, I couldn’t move a muscle.
“And I thought I was going to die because when we looked into it one in four people can die from this.”
The disease affects one in 1000 people who fall ill with food poisoning.
The mother features on an episode of RTE’s The Consumer Show which tonight focuses on the high level of infected chickens on Irish supermarket shelves.
“When Monday came I couldn’t even lift my hands – there was no power or anything.
“So I was straight back over to A&E and spent three months in high dependency there and then nearly a year in rehab in Dun Laoghaire.”
Thankfully after rehabilitation, she has made a full recovery.
The RTE show presented by Keelin Shanley has revealed that half of the chickens on sale in Irish supermarkets are infected with dangerous bacteria campylobacter.
An estimated 3000 cases of food poisoning can be attributed to Irish poultry each year.
The programme’s investigation team found that Ireland has the highest rate of poultry infection in Europe, with 98.3pc of chicken carcasses testing positive for campylobacter.
Campylobacter is the most common cause of bacterial gastroenteritis in Ireland and in rare cases can be associated with reactive arthritis, Reiter’s syndrome, Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome and is related to neurological disorder Guillain-Barre Syndrome.
The high level of contamination in Ireland can be contributed to a number of things, including chicks brought up in crowded farm conditions.
Chickens who are kept in stressful conditions and close quarters transport the dangerous bacteria easier.