Escherichia coli Infection

Escherichia coli ( E. coli ) infection is caused by a bacteria. It is the leading cause of bloody diarrhea. This type of infection may need medical attention. Contact your doctor if you think you may have it.

  • Causes


    This
    infection is caused by some types of the
    E. coli
    bacterium. Most
    E. coli
    infections are caused by:

    • Eating undercooked beef, especially ground beef
    • Drinking contaminated water
    • Drinking unpasteurized milk
    • Working with cattle
    Digestive Pathway Through Stomach and Intestines
    Digestive pathway
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  • Definition

    Escherichia coli
    (
    E. coli
    ) infection is caused by a bacteria. It is the leading cause of bloody diarrhea. This type of infection may need medical attention. Contact your doctor if you think you may have it.

  • Diagnosis


    Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. Your waste material may be tested. This can be done with a stool culture.

  • Prevention


    To help prevent
    E. coli
    infection:

    • Cook all ground beef and hamburger thoroughly.
    • Avoid eating undercooked hamburger or other ground beef.
    • Keep raw meats separate from ready-to-eat foods.
    • Wash hands, counters, and utensils with hot soapy water after they are exposed to raw meat.
    • Drink only pasteurized milk, juice, and cider.
    • Wash fruits and vegetables under running water.
    • Drink municipal water that has been treated with a disinfectant.
    • Wash hands after bowel movements and after changing soiled diapers.

  • Risk Factors


    Factors that increase your chance of developing
    E. coli
    infection include:

    • Age: children and older people
    • People with another illness
    • Working with cattle
    • Living in northern states

  • Symptoms

    Symptoms of E. coli infection include:

    • Abdominal cramps

    • Watery
      diarrhea
    • Dehydration
    • Fatigue
    • Bright red, bloody stools
    • Mild fever
    • Nausea or vomiting

  • Treatment

    Talk with your doctor about the best plan for you. Treatment options include: