Escherichia (E) coli infection and symptoms

Escherichia (E) coli infection and symptoms - picture » Infectious Diseases » Escherichia (E) coli infection

What is Escherichia (E.) coli infection

Escherichia (E.) coli - Illness that results from INFECTION with any of the numerous strains of Escherichia coli BACTERIA, some of which are NORMAL FLORA in the human gastrointestinal tract and others that are normal flora in the gastrointestinal tracts of animals consumed as food (such as cattle and poultry). Most strains of E. coli cause mild to moderate illness. Illness from E. coli infection results from the toxins the E. coli release through their normal metabolic functions. The strain E. coli O157:H7, found in beef contaminated with fecal matter, can cause particularly severe illness.

Symptoms of Escherichia (E.) coli infection and Diagnostic Path

The symptoms of common E. coli infection are generally mild to moderate in severity and include

The symptoms of E. coli O157:H7 infection are often more severe and include ABDOMINAL PAIN with profuse, sometimes bloody diarrhea. Though most people recover fully after the illness runs its course in 5 to 10 days, in some people the toxins the E. coli O157:H7 release cause the massive destruction of red BLOOD cells (erythrocytes), a process called HEMOLYSIS. The enormous volume of dead erythrocytes creates proteins in the blood that are damaging to the KIDNEYS, resulting in RENAL FAILURE. The combination of these circumstances is HEMOLYTIC UREMIC SYNDROME (HUS), which occurs as a complication of E. coli O157:H7 infection in about 5 percent of people (mostly children under age 5). HUS nearly always results in END-STAGE RENAL DISEASE (ESRD), requiring dialysis or KIDNEY TRANSPLANTATION.

The diagnostic path for E. coli infection may include culture of stool samples to determine the causative PATHOGEN, though most often doctors do this only when the illness continues beyond about two weeks or has severe symptoms. The doctor must specifically request culture for E. coli O157:H7 as most laboratories do not routinely include this in their testing.

Escherichia (E.) coli: Treatment Options and Outlook

E. coli diarrheal illnesses are very common and nearly all people who acquire them fully recover in three to five days without treatment, except fluid replacement to prevent DEHYDRATION. ANTIBIOTIC MEDICATIONS are seldom appropriate because the cause of symptoms is the toxins the E. coli bacteria release, and killing the bacteria causes them to release even more toxins. It is sometimes helpful to avoid dairy products until bowel activity returns to normal. People who become seriously ill with E. coli O157:H7 may require care in the hospital. Though E. coli O157:H7 infection has gained substantial notoriety, more than 95 percent of people who become ill with it recover without complications.

Risk Factors and Preventive Measures

E. coli infections result from contaminated water or food, especially meats. Swimming in lakes and rivers often exposes people to E. coli contamination; swallowing the water allows the bacteria to enter the gastrointestinal system. Most E. coli infections are FOODBORNE ILLNESSES.

Preventive measures include

  • diligent HAND WASHING
  • following FOOD SAFETY guidelines for handling and preparing meats and other foods
  • thoroughly cooking meats, especially ground beef

Most E. coli infections are preventable.



Resource: Facts On File Encyclopedia Of Health And Medicine

Each atricle being rated on a scale of 1 to 5 stars.
Please rate this article
Article Rating: 3,0 stars of 5

Discussion and opinions:

Insert your opinion:

Tweet this page

Other Articles

Virus (infection) definition and immune system

Infectious Diseases |

What is a virus - definition Virus - an infectious PATHOGEN that must invade a host cell to replicate, technically called an obligate intracellular PARASITE. A virus is a particle of living material that contains an inner core of nucleic acid (DNA or RNA), called the genome, encased in an outer shell of protein, called a capsid. Some viruses contain a

Adenovirus (virus) - infection and symptoms

Infectious Diseases |

A VIRUS family that causes INFECTION of mucous membrane tissues throughout the body. Adenoviruses are responsible for a wide range of illness including upper respiratory infection, viral CONJUNCTIVITIS, GASTROENTERITIS, and URINARY TRACT INFECTION (UTI). These infections primarily affect children age 10 and younger. Infection with one adenovirus confers

Amebiasis treatment and symptoms

Infectious Diseases |

A parasitic INFECTION of the gastrointestinal tract. The PARASITE responsible is Entamoeba histolytica, a single-cell organism (an ameba) that enters the body by drinking water or eating food that contains E. histolytica in cyst form. The cyst is a protective encasing within which the ameba may sustain itself in a dormant stage for weeks to months outside a

Antibiotic medications - side effects

Infectious Diseases |

Antibiotic medications - Drugs that kill BACTERIA and certain other microorganisms. Antibiotic medications are the mainstay of treatment for bacterial INFECTION. Broad-spectrum antibiotics are capable of killing numerous types of bacteria; narrowspectrum antibiotics kill specific types or strains of bacteria. There are seven primary classifications of

Antifungal medications and treatment

Infectious Diseases |

Drugs that kill fungi (yeast). Antifungal medications are available for topical or systemic treatment. Some fungal infections require both. Antifungal medications work through various mechanisms to interfere with the ability of fungi to survive or reproduce. Broadspectrum antifungal medications are effective for treating a variety of fungal infections;

Antiviral medications and viral infection

Infectious Diseases |

Antiviral medications - medications to shorten the course and lessen the severity of illness due to viral INFECTION as well as reduce viral shedding to minimize contagiousness. Some antiviral medications are able to prevent viral infection from developing after exposure to the VIRUS. Antiviral medications mark a fine line because they must destroy viruses

What is Anthrax

Infectious Diseases |

Anthrax (disease) - an illness resulting from INFECTION with the bacterium Bacillus anthracis. Anthrax is a naturally occurring infection among wild and domestic livestock (such as cows, sheep, goats, and antelope). Anthrax is rare in people in the United States, though more common in people who live, work, or travel to countries where anthrax is more

Babesiosis disease Babesia microti and symptoms

Infectious Diseases |

An illness that results from INFECTION with the parasitic protozoan Babesia microti. Most people who have babesiosis do not have symptoms; the infection causes illness primarily in people who are IMMUNOCOMPROMISED or who have had SPLENECTOMY (surgical removal of the SPLEEN). The bite of the Ixodes tick, found in the northeastern United States, is the mode

Bacteria - definition, what is, types and list of bacteria

Infectious Diseases |

What is bacteria and definition of bacteria Bacteria - single-cell microorganisms (microbes). Bacteria are the most ancient and primitive life forms known, with fossils dating back more than 3 billion years. A bacterium’s structure is very simple, consisting of a rigid cell wall that supports and contains the cytoplasm, fragments of RNA, and a single

What is Botulism

Infectious Diseases |

What is Botulism Botulism is a potentially life-threatening illness resulting from INFECTION with the anaerobic bacterium Clostridium botulinum. The BACTERIA are naturally present in soil, where they encase themselves in spores. In the body, the bacteria release a toxin that blocks the release of acetylcholine, a NEUROTRANSMITTER that facilitates NERVE