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Escherichia coli, generally referred to as E. coli, are a group of bacteria that are a common cause of food borne illnesses. When food that contains E. coli is digested, several uncomfortable symptoms can arise, including bloody diarrhea. Most forms of E. coli can come from undercooked ground beef, contaminated water, unpasteurized milk, or from working directly with cattle. Symptoms of this infection typically start seven days after one is infected with the bacteria. First signs of an E. coli infection are severe abdominal cramping, with an onset of watery diarrhea. The infection can cause blood diarrhea that can last two to five days. The bacterium thrives in the intestines, resulting in sores.
There are several complications that can develop from an E. coli infection. The most common complication is hemolytic uremic syndrome. Individuals who develop hemolytic uremic syndrome get hemolytic anemia (low red blood count), thrombocytopenia (low platelet count), and renal failure (kidney damage). E. coli can be diagnosed through a stool culture to determine if the bacteria are in the intestines. There is no recommended treatment for E. coli infections. Doctors recommend drinking plenty of water. If severe dehydration occurs, a hospital IV may need to administer fluids. It’s important that you avoid taking any medications to stop diarrhea during this time, as this can prevent the bacteria from leaving your intestines.
To find out more about E. coli, follow the references found below:
E. Coli Information
E. Coli Information for Kids
E. Coli Materials for Educators
E. Coli Indexes, Databases, and Journals
E. Coli Photo Galleries
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