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 typically occur three to four days after exposure, and may include:
• Severe stomach cramps
• Diarrhea (often bloody)
Most people recover without treatment within five to seven days. The consumption of extra fluids is encouraged to prevent dehydration.
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.