E. coli (escherichia coli) infections

Abdomen | Gastroenterology | E. coli (escherichia coli) infections (Disease)


Escherichia coli is one of the most frequent causes of many common bacterial infections, including cholecystitis, bacteremia, cholangitis, urinary tract infection (UTI), and travelers diarrhea, and other clinical infections such as neonatal meningitis and pneumonia.

Escherichia coli is a Gram-negative, rod-shaped bacterium that is commonly found in the lower intestine of warm-blooded organisms (endotherms). Most E. coli strains are harmless, but some serotypes can cause serious food poisoning in humans, and are occasionally responsible for product recalls due to food contamination. The harmless strains are part of the normal flora of the gut, and can benefit their hosts by producing vitamin K2, and by preventing the establishment of pathogenic bacteria within the intestine.

The worst type of E. coli causes bloody diarrhea, and can sometimes cause kidney failure and even death. These problems are most likely to occur in children and in adults with weak immune systems.

Causes and Risk factors

A person can get E. coli infections by eating foods containing the bacteria. To help avoid food poisoning and prevent infection, food should be handled safely. Meat should be cooked well, fruits and vegetables washed before eating or cooking them, and avoiding unpasteurized milk and juices. The infection can be got by swallowing water in a swimming pool contaminated with human waste.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Most cases of E. coli infection get better without treatment in 5 to 10 days. ...

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