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Escherichia coli (E. coli): Causes, Types, Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment

 What is Escherichia coli (E. coli)?

is most definitely a concern The CDC reports that for each diagnosed case of E-coli 0157:H7 there are another 38 cases of E-coli O157 not diagnosed and reported Although the number of actual food poisoning outbreaks is lower than what’s reported by the CDC they still occur frequently with many being caused by produce specifically leafy greens such as lettuce

They are what’s known as anaerobes They need a special environment to live in and that’s why salmonella lives in the intestinal tract of some animals like chickens but not in others It usually isn’t a problem because these bacteria don’t normally get into our food supply But if they do it can be very serious for people with weak immune systems That includes children under five years old and the elderly In young kids and old people the illness is most likely to cause severe symptoms such as bloody diarrhea fever and dehydration causing them to become severely ill or even die

Escherichia coli called E coli for short is a bacteria that lives in the intestines of people and animals Although most strains of E coli are harmless to humans some varieties can cause food poisoning in people who eat undercooked or raw food contaminated with the bacteria Some types of E coli are also linked to urinary tract infections in women and children and respiratory illnesses such as pneumonia in children younger than age 5 and older adults


what is Escherichia coli (E. coli)

Explanation of medical terms and concepts Escherichia coli (E. coli)

Escherichia coli (E coli) normally live in the intestines of healthy people and animals E coli O157:H7 can cause serious food poisoning and diarrhea This is the strain that was linked to a series of outbreaks of E coli infection associated with consumption of undercooked hamburgers particularly in restaurants such as Jack-in-the-Box Inc (JACK) Del Taco Restaurants Inc DELTA and Wendy’s International INC W

You may become infected with E coli from contaminated water or food — especially raw vegetables and undercooked ground beef Healthy adults usually recover from infection with E coli O157:H7 within a week Young children and older adults have a greater risk of developing a life-threatening form of hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) which can result in kidney failure seizures and stroke Symptoms include severe stomach pain followed by diarrhea vomiting fever fatigue lethargy and

Symptoms Escherichia coli (E. coli)

The signs and symptoms of E coli O157:H7 infection usually occur three or four days after exposure to the bacterium but a person can have symptoms as early as one day after exposure and may develop them later on for up to a week Common signs of infection include vomiting diarrhea (often bloody) abdominal cramps and fever People who are infected with E coli O157:H7 do not always have all these symptoms

  • Diarrhea can range from mild to severe It may be watery or bloody
  • Stomach cramping, pain or tenderness
  • Nausea and vomiting, in some people

When to see a doctor

If you have persistent severe diarrhea or bloody stools contact your doctor

Causes Escherichia coli (E. coli)

Only a few strains of E coli are the cause of the diarrhea The E coli O157: H7 strain belongs to a group of E coli that produce a powerful toxin that damages the lining of your small intestine causing bloody diarrhea You develop an E coli infection when you ingest this bacteria

E coli can cause an infection even if you ingest only small amounts Because of this it is possible to become sickened by E coli from eating a slightly undercooked hamburger or from swallowing a mouthful of contaminated pool water

Potential sources of exposure to the virus include contaminated food and water or person-to-person contact

Contaminated food

The most common way to get E coli is from eating food that has been contaminated

  • Ground beef.The E coli bacteria in cattle intestines can get on the meat when they are butchered and processed Ground beef combines meat from many different animals increasing the risk of contamination
  • Unpasteurized milk.Raw milk can be contaminated by E coli bacteria on a cow’s udder or on milking equipment
  • Fresh produce.Runoff from cattle farms can contaminate fields where fresh produce is grown Certain vegetables such as spinach and lettuce are particularly vulnerable to this type of contamination

Contaminated water

Human and animal waste can pollute ground and surface water Rainwater streams lakes and irrigation water used to grow crops are sometimes polluted by E coli Although chlorine or ultraviolet light or ozone has killed E coli in public drinking water systems some outbreaks have been linked to contaminated municipal supplies

Private water wells are a greater concern because many do not have a way to purify the water Rural supplies which are found in more rural areas and are often associated with livestock are the most likely to be contaminated because of these sources Some people also have been infected with E coli after swimming in pools or lakes that have been contaminated by fecal matter but this is less common than contamination from private wells

Personal contact

E coli bacteria can easily travel from person to person because it is resistant to antibiotics and people who are infected during their child or young adult years do not wash their hands properly This makes other family members at risk of getting the bacteria which can cause severe illness especially those of children with E coli infection Outbreaks have also occurred among children visiting petting zoos Animals belong in zoos and animal barns at county fairs

Risk factors Escherichia coli (E. coli)

E. coli can affect anyone who is exposed to the bacteria. But some people are more likely to develop problems than are others. Risk factors include: 

  • Age. Young children and older adults are at higher risk of experiencing illness caused by E. coli and more-serious complications from the infection.
  • Weakened immune systems. People who have weakened immune systems — from AIDS or from medicine to treat cancer or forestall the rejection of organ transplants — are a lot of seemingly to become sick from ingesting E. coli.
  • Eating certain types of food.Riskier foods include undercooked hamburgers unpasteurized milk and soft cheeses made from raw milk
  • Time of year.Though it is not clear why most E coli infections in the U.S occur from June through September
  • Decreased stomach acid levels.Taking medication to reduce stomach acid may increase your risk of E coli infection Taking medications such as esomeprazole (Nexium) pantoprazole (Protonix) lansoprazole (Prevacid) and omeprazole (Prilosec) may increase your risk of an E coli infection

Complications

Most healthy adults endure escherichia unhealthiness inside a week. Some individuals — significantly young youngsters and older adults — could develop a dangerous type of kidney disease referred to as haemolytic pathology syndrome.

Prevention Escherichia coli (E. coli)

No vaccine can protect you from E coli-based illness Researchers are investigating potential vaccines to protect against this type of illness To reduce your chance of being exposed to E coli avoid swallowing water from lakes or pools wash your hands often avoid risky foods and watch out for cross-contamination

Cook this incorrectly and you could end up with an E coli infection

Escherichia coli is a type of bacteria

Risk of getting food poisoning from undercooked hamburger meat most often occurs in:

Dr Nipunie Rajapakse studies the stomach She says that E coli bacteria can cause some stomach-turning symptoms like abdominal pain and nausea But it can get even worse

There is a specific type of E coli called O157:H7 which can cause bloody diarrhea and has been associated with a condition that can cause kidney damage especially in young children

The elderly are also at higher risk for E coli infections Those who have weakened immune systems or other underlying medical conditions are also at higher risk of an E coli infection Pregnant women and people with digestive problems and those with weakened immune systems can become infected

Risky foods

  • Cook hamburgers until they reach 160 degrees Hamburgers should be well done with no pink showing But color is not a good guide to know if the meat is ready to eat Meat especially when grilled can brown before it has fully cooked Use a meat thermometer to ensure that meat reaches at least 160 F (71 C) at its center when it’s cooked through The thickest part of a blade is the point
  • Drink pasteurized milk, juice and cider.If juice is kept at room temperature it is likely to be pasteurized even if the label does not say so Avoid unpasteurized dairy product such as milk or cheese
  • Wash raw produce thoroughly.Washing produce may not get rid of all E coli — especially in leafy greens that provide many places for the bacteria to attach themselves Careful rinsing can remove dirt and reduce the amount of bacteria that may be clinging

Avoid cross-contamination

  • Wash utensils.Use hot water and soap to clean countertops before and after fresh produce or raw meat contact
  • Keep raw foods separate.Never put cooked hamburgers on the same plate you used for raw patties Never let cooked foods come in contact with raw foods (such as food-soiled cutting boards)
  • Wash your hands.After preparing or eating food wash your hands with soap and water After using the bathroom or changing diapers make sure that children wash their hands well Also keep an eye on children after they have been handling animals

Diagnosis Escherichia coli (E. coli)

When you have an infection caused by E coli bacteria your doctor sends a sample of your stool to a laboratory to test for the presence of E coli bacteria The bacteria may be cultured to confirm the diagnosis and identify specific toxins produced by the bacteria such as those produced by E coli O157:H7

Treatment Escherichia coli (E. coli)

For illness caused by E coli no current treatments can cure the infection relieve symptoms or prevent complications For most people treatment includes:

  • Rest
  • Drink fluids to prevent dehydration and fatigue

Don't take an anti-diarrheal medicine — this slows down your digestive system preventing your body from getting rid of the toxins Antibiotics are generally not recommended as they may lead to serious complications and they do not appear to help treat the infection

If you have a serious E coli infection that has caused a life-threatening form of kidney failure (hemolytic uremic syndrome) or if your condition requires hospitalization you will be hospitalized You may need to have blood transfusions IV fluids and dialysis

Lifestyle and home remedies

Avoid dehydration and take these tips to avoid symptoms while you recover:

  • Drink clear liquids.Follow the above mentioned foods in order to help you lose weight Drink a lot of water sodas and broths gelatin and juices and avoid apple and pear juices caffeine and alcohol
  • Avoid certain foods.High fat and high-fiber foods can make symptoms worse
  • Eat meals.When you feel better you can return to your normal diet

Preparing for your appointment

Most people don't visit a doctor for E coli infections if they have mild symptoms For severe cases more severe illness or complications may be signs of an infection and you should seek immediate medical attention

Here is some information to help you get ready for your appointment and what to expect from your doctor

What you can do

  • Write down any symptoms you're experiencingInclude any questions or issues that may seem unrelated to the reason for which you scheduled the appointment
  • Write down key personal information,If you have recently gone through a significant life change or if you have traveled abroad in the last six months ask your doctor if there are any changes that need to be made to your immunizations
  • Make a list of all medications,Vitamins or supplements to take
  • Ask a friend or family member to come with youIf possible you can review all of the information that is given to you during an appointment Someone who accompanies you may remember something that you missed or forgot
  • Write down questions to ask your doctor.

If you do get an E coli infection you should ask your doctor the following questions:

  • What is the most likely cause of my symptoms?
  • What kinds of tests do I need?
  • Which treatments are available and which do you recommend?
  • Will this illness leave any lasting effects?
  • How can I prevent this from happening again?
  • Yes there are brochures and other printed material that I can take home with me What websites do you recommend visiting?

What to expect from your doctor

Your doctor may ask:

  • When did your symptoms begin?
  • How often are you having diarrhea?
  • Are you vomiting? If so, how often?

  • Have you had a fever? If so, how high?
  • Are you also having abdominal cramps?
  • Have you recently traveled outside the country?
  • Does anyone else in your family have similar symptoms?

What you can do in the meantime

If you or your child has an E coli infection it may be tempting to use anti-diarrheal medication But do not use them if your child has diarrhea Diarrhea is a way the body rids itself of toxins Preventing diarrhea slows that process down

When someone is very young they tend to think that everything is a game When they become older they tend to think more rationally and take things more seriously paraphrased: Children often think that life can be a game; once they grow up most people take things much more seriously and behave in a more mature way

General summary

A bacterium called Escherichia coli (E.coli) is the main cause of diarrheal diseases and urinary tract infections in humans E.coli live in the intestines of people and animals and usually do not cause disease but they may occasionally spread to other organs if they get into the bloodstream or if a person has a weak immune system A few strains also produce toxins that can cause severe food poisoning within hours of ingestion

How to treat E-coli bacteria?

Hand washing is the most effective way of preventing E-coli infections All members of your family should wash their hands often with warm soapy water for 20 seconds before and after handling food to avoid transferring the bacteria from their hands to food or other surfaces

How to get rid of Escherichia coli in urine?

Whether you're treating a UTI caused by Escherichia coli or want to prevent one it's important that you follow your doctor's advice regarding drinking fluids A urinary tract infection causes an imbalance in the amount of liquids in your body and the chemicals that protect your body against infections resulting in pain and discomfort If left untreated a UTI can spread through the lower part of the urinary tract and could eventually reach the kidneys Antibiotics are typically used for treatment to decrease the number of bacterial colonies relieve symptoms and return your urine to a healthy balance However these medications aren't effective if your body isn't

How to reduce Escherichia coli?

Escherichia coli commonly known as E coli is a large and diverse group of bacteria found in the lower intestine of warm-blooded organisms (endotherms) Most E coli are harmless to humans but some can cause serious food poisoning in their hosts including death; other strains are intestinal symbionts E Coli causes disease by releasing Shiga toxins which destroy cells lining the intestine The most common symptoms include severe stomach cramps diarrhea and vomiting due to toxin-induced secretion of water in the gut This can lead to severe dehydration quickly without proper medical care being administered Symptoms usually begin

Diseases Diagnosis and Treatment-A/Z

Escherichia coli (E. coli): Causes, Types, Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment

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