Escherichia Coli (E. Coli)
Escherichia Coli (commonly known as E. Coli) is a bacteria that can be found in the lower intestine and aids in digestion. However, some strains are known to cause harmful effects, such as diarrhea, kidney damage, vomiting, or death.
The disease-causing strain, E. coliO157:H7, contaminates food via manure, improperly cooked foods, contaminated water, poor hygiene (unclean hands), processing, or handling of foods. The slaughter process of animals (cattle, deer, sheep, pigs, turkeys, chickens, etc.) is one of the most common ways E. Coli may enter meats. E. Coli may also be transmitted person-to-person via improperly washed hands. Consumption of contaminated meats and produce will likely transmit the viral strain. Contaminated or improperly chlorinated water will also transmit E. Coli as well as drinking from the ocean, lakes, rivers, and streams.
- Symptoms include: Bloody diarrhea, stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting, bruising, fever, pale skin, passing small amounts of urine, and kidney failure (severe cases).
- Precautions: Buy fresh fruits and vegetables; do not purchase (or consume) produce that does not look fresh, is bruised, is rotted, or smells foul. Keep meats and produce separated at home. Clean fruits and vegetables. Properly wash hands. Cook (or order) meats well-done and do not eat under-cooked or raw meats. Drink purified water.
Generally, the infection is known to go away on its own, provided the patient stays hydrated. If the strain worsens, blood transfusions or dialysis may be needed.
Most patients infected with E. Coli are cured within a few days after diagnosis, provided they stay properly hydrated. In worst case scenarios, patients have developed anemia or kidney failure. This is not common.