E Coli Facts

E Coli Facts
E. coli (or Escherichia coli) is a bacteria commonly thought of as disease-causing in humans. In fact only certain strains are responsible for causing gastroenteritis, or food poisoning that results in vomiting, diarrhea and even death in some cases. Most animals and humans have E. coli bacteria living in their intestines, and most are completely harmless. The pathogenic E. coli are those that cause illness when they transmitted to humans through contaminated food or water, which can happen if someone does not properly wash their hands after using the washroom and touches something that makes it into someone's mouth.
Interesting E Coli Facts:
The most common E. coli strain associated with foodborne illness is the Shiga toxin-producing E. coli-STEC. This type of E. coli can cause severe illness, including kidney failure, and death. Young children and the elderly are most susceptible to suffering severe effects of this strain, but anyone can become seriously ill.
Once a person has become infected with E. coli it can take anywhere from one day to ten days for symptoms to appear.
Sometimes, when a person begins to recover and the diarrhea is not as bad, they develop HUS (hemolytic uremic syndrome) which can cause kidney failure and even death. This usually happens about 7 days after the first signs of E. coli infection appear. HUS is also referred to as Hamburger Disease. Symptoms include fatigue, pale skin, and decreased urination.
The main reason for humans to become infected with E. coli is through cattle. The E. coli STEC live in the guts of animals and improper handling of animals at the farms or improper disposal of animal waste can result in E. coli infection of humans.
Certain foods that many health officials believe to be high risk for E. coli contamination include raw milk, contaminated water, and contaminated food that has been unknowingly contaminated by someone's hands.
It is possible to become infected with E. coli by swallowing water in a lake or visiting a petting zoo and not properly washing one's hands afterwards.
It is almost impossible to avoid risk completely as anything someone touches could be contaminated by the last person who touched it.
In the United States there are approximately 265,000 cases of E. coli STEC infection each year.
Following infection, even after symptoms have cleared up, a person can continue to shed the E. coli STEC bacteria for months. This is why it is always important to wash one's hands after using the bathroom and to avoid putting your fingers in your mouth.
Cooking food to the proper temperature can help reduce the chances of contracting E. coli through food.
In 1993 an E. coli outbreak at the Jack in the Box restaurant chain caused the infection of 732 people. Four children died and another 178 people were permanently affected.
In 2011 an E. coli outbreak from contaminated fenugreek sprouts infected 3,950 people, killing 53.
Simple food preparation prevention methods can be used to decrease the risk of infection of E. coli in the kitchen, and frequent hand washing throughout the day and after using the bathroom, can reduce risk of infection elsewhere.


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