Thursday, April 15, 2010

Escherichia coli

Escherichia coli
Escherichia coli is a type of bacteria that thrives in our intestines and helps digest food.

Most strains are beneficial, but a few release harmful toxins that can cause great discomfort and even death.

There are four classes of Escherichia coli that cause illness in humans: enteroinvasive, enteropathogenic, enterotoxigenic, and the most toxic, 0157:H7.

Enteropathogenic E. coli primarily strikes infants and causes bloody or watery diarrhea. It affects bottle-fed infants more often than breast-fed babies and occurs most frequently in less developed countries with inadequate accesses to safe drinking water.

It can have a mortality rate of 50 percent in countries where adequate medical treatment is unavailable.

Enteroinvasive E. coli is a highly potent strain of E. coli with an infective dose of as few as ten microorganisms.

The organisms invade the cells lining the intestine and cause dysentery. Symptoms include blood and mucous in in the stool, abdominal cramps, diarrhea vomiting, fever, chills and malaise.

Although the infection usually only lasts twelve to seventy two hours, occasionally it can lead to hemolytic uremic syndrome.

It can occur in hamburger and dairy products but one cruise ship outbreak was attributed to potato salad.

Enterotoxigenic E. coli causes gastroenteritis or “traveler’s diarrhea.” It occurs in infants in less developed countries and travelers from industrialized countries.

This strain has symptoms of watery diarrhea, abdominal cramps, low grade fever, nausea and malaise.

It the quite a large dose to produce illness. Approximately 100 million to 10 billion individual bacteria are required.
Escherichia coli

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