Germs…A War That Can Never Be Won!

Microbiologist Jason Tetro enlightened members of the Canadian Club of Halton Peel

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Janet Bedford

Janet Bedford is a broker with Royal LePage in downtown Oakville, with 20 years of real estate experience. Along with helping her clients find the perfect home or sell their home, she is often found photographing the many events that take place in Oakville. She has written extensively for various publications.

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“The War On Germs Can Never Be Won” according to “The Germ Guy” Jason Tetro, a fascinating speaker at a recent Canadian Club of Halton Peel dinner. He says, “Our plan should be to choose our battles with germs carefully and co-exist as best we can, for in many respects our lives and theirs are entwined in a delicately balanced dance.”

Germs…. we tend to think the worst whenever we hear the word…. and yet Jason reminds us that, “the reality is that our relationship with germs is the most important relationship in each of our lives. They are with us from the moment we are born until our last breath”. He points out that “germs surround us, outnumber us, live on and in us, both to our benefit and our detriment.” He claims that that our bodies are 90% germs and 10% human.

Listen to Jason … “Make peace not war. It would take e-coli only 36-48 hours under optimum growth conditions to take over the planet”. Impossible, you say….

Jason Tetro with Anastassia and Barry

“The Germ Guy” Jason Tetro with Anastassia and Barry of the Canadian Club; Photo Credit: Janet Bedford

Jason Tetro campaigns for a healthy attitude towards germs and explains that “not every germ is a plague waiting to happen.” Instead he offers advice on harnessing the power of the good ones to keep us healthy and to make our planet a better place. Probiotics are germs at work on our behalf helping to keep a healthy intestine, a popular example of good germs at work. Germs and viruses such as Ebola, e-coli and SARS, however, are scary and often life threatening and, like Rob Ford, capture most of the press.

A few interesting facts that were highlighted: Bad germs thrive on sugar substitutes. Good germs like real sugar. 70% of our oxygen is produced by microbes. Vitamins A and E and fish oils are made by algae. Antibiotic resistance is our biggest threat as we cannot keep up with the bad germs that mutate and adapt. Wash your hands properly and often – this is the best defense against infection. Don’t panic! Gain an appreciation for the use of microbes in our lives!

Listen to Jason … “Make peace not war. It would take e-coli only 36-48 hours under optimum growth conditions to take over the planet”. Impossible, you say….

A microbiologist with a Bachelor of Science degree in Applied Biochemistry & Microbiology from the University of Guelph, Jason has studied germs for over 25 years and, known as “The Germ Guy”, he has contributed to the CBC, CTV, the Toronto Star, Scientific American and the Huffington Post, amongst others. His book, “The Germ Code: How to Stop Worrying and Love the Microbes” was shortlisted for this year’s Canadian Science Writers’ Association awards, honouring outstanding contributions to science-writing for the general public.

Hand Cleaner

Clean Hands Keep the “Bad Germs” Away! Photo Credit: Janet Bedford

The Canadian Club of Halton Peel meets next on January 22nd 2015 at the Oakville Conference. The guest speaker will be internationally-recognized Dr. Hertzel Gerstein, MD, MSc, FRCPC, Endocrinologist, Professor of Medicine, Department of Clinical Epidemiology & Biostatistics, McMaster University and Population Health Institute Chair in Diabetes Research. His subject will be “Diabetes – The Latest in Research & Treatment”.

Reservations for the dinner can be made by e-mail (, by telephone (905-827-6302) or by mail (cheques payable to the Canadian Club of Halton Peel, 283 River Side Drive, Oakville, L6K 3N3).


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