E. coli (Escherichia coli)

E. coli is bacteria found in the intestines of humans and ruminates(cattle, deer and sheep). There are 6 classes of E.coli, each with slightly different symptoms.  E. coli is spread through consumption of food or drinks contaminated by animal feces.  Foods associated with E.coli infection include:

• Unpasteurized (raw) milk or soft cheeses made from raw milk

• Contaminated water

• Unpasteurized apple cider

• Undercooked meats

 

Symptoms

Symptoms typically occur three to four days after exposure, and may include:

• Severe stomach cramps

• Diarrhea (often bloody)

• Vomiting

 

Treatment

Most people recover without treatment within five to seven days. The consumption of extra fluids is encouraged to prevent dehydration.

 

Prevention

The CDC recommends the following prevention techniques:

• Washing hands thoroughly after using the bathroom or changing diapers and before preparing or eating food.

• Washing hands after contact with animals or their environments (at farms, petting zoos, fairs, even your own backyard).

• Cooking meats thoroughly.

• Avoiding raw milk, unpasteurized dairy products, and unpasteurized juices (like fresh apple cider).

• Avoiding swallowing water when swimming or playing in lakes, ponds, streams, swimming pools, and backyard “kiddie” pools.

• Preventing cross contamination in food preparation areas by thoroughly washing hands, counters, cutting boards, and utensils after they touch raw meat.

 

Resources

http://www.cdc.gov/ecoli/general/index.html