Also known as VTEC, Escherichia Coli 0157 is a bacterial infection that can cause gastroenteritis. E. coli 0157 is a bacteria usually found inside the human intestine and the feces and gut of animals, especially cattle. While there are many species of Escherichia Coli infection, 0157:H7 is the most dangerous one as it leads to symptoms like vomiting, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, and acute kidney failure in severe cases. People at a higher risk of getting infected with E. coli 0157 include newborns, children, the elderly, pregnant women, and people with a weakened immune system (those suffering from diabetes, cancer, and HIV). Keep reading the article to learn more about the E. coli 0157 infection.
How Does the E. Coli 0157 Infection Spread?
Abbreviated as STEC, the Shiga-toxin-producing Escherichia Coli was first identified in 1982 as a trigger of bloody diarrhea caused by eating raw hamburger meat and undercooked food. Since then, E. coli 0157 outbreaks have been associated with consuming contaminated food and drinks such as apple cider, unpasteurized milk or cheese, sprouts, lettuce, spinach, and salami.
Even though E. coli 0157 is not an airborne illness; it can spread from one person to another via the “oral-fecal route.” In simpler words, if an infected person hasn’t properly washed their hands after using the washroom and touched another person, they can easily transmit the E. coli 0157 bacteria strains. Some common sources of E. coli 0157:H7 are given below:
1. Ground Meat: E. coli 0157 strains are found in the gut of animals, which is why it is important to ensure that the meat is well-cooked.
2. Fruits and Vegetables: Greens grown in the same field as animals have a higher risk of E. coli 0157 infection. All fruits and vegetables must be thoroughly washed with warm water before consumption.
3. Untreated Milk: Drinking unpasteurized milk or eating by-products made from unpasteurized milk.
4. Water: Swallowing water from the pond, lake, or pool.
How Does the E. Coli 0157 Infection Impact the Human Body?
An E. coli 0157 infection can make you very ill. The symptoms begin after one to five days of ingesting contaminated liquids or food and can last for up to 8 to 10 days, depending on the severity of the infection. Listed below are the most common E. coli 0157:H7 symptoms:
● Bloody or Non-Bloody Diarrhea
● Abdominal Cramps
● Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS) is a serious complication, leading to kidney failure and even death.
Note that only a few strains of E. coli 0157 are powerful enough to trigger diarrhea. E. coli 0157 comprises a harmful toxin called Shiga that travels down in your digestive tract and causes severe damage to the lining of your small intestine. This means that eating one or two bites of an undercooked meat sandwich or swallowing a mouthful of contaminated water can cause diarrhea.
How Is E. Coli 0157 Infection Diagnosed and Treated?
A stool test is used to diagnose an E. coli 0157:H7 infection. Once you have submitted a sample of your stool to the laboratory, you will have to wait 2 to 4 days to get the result.
In most cases, the E. coli 0157 infection gets treated on its own. Your healthcare provider will not prescribe you antibiotics as it can increase the risk of a HUS complication. Furthermore, taking any kind of over-the-counter medication (Loperamide or Bismuth Subsalicylate) is not recommended to stop or treat diarrhea as it can keep the infectious strains in your body and trigger complications. Thus, rest, keep yourself hydrated, and let the symptoms run their course. However, contact your healthcare provider in the following cases:
● You aren’t urinating a lot.
● You cannot keep fluids down.
● You feel tired all the time.
● You have bloody poop.
● You are vomiting a lot.
● The pink color in your lower eyelids and cheeks is fading.
Ways to Prevent E. Coli 0157 Infection
Prevention is better than cure. Follow the below-mentioned tips to limit the risk of contracting E. coli 0157 infection:
● Store raw meat and ready-to-cook food in different compartments.
● Wash all fruits and vegetables with water, especially if you eat them raw.
● Consume only pasteurized ciders, juices, milk, and milk products.
● If a food vendor or restaurant serves you an undercooked steak or hamburger, send it back.
● When cooking, use a digital thermometer to ensure the meat is cooked at a minimum temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
● Do not swallow pool or lake water while swimming.
● Wash your hand properly after using the washroom, handling animals, or touching contaminated surfaces.
● Drink only clean, filtered water.
● If you are suffering from diarrhea, avoid going to swimming pools, bathing with others, and preparing food.
Hire an Illinois E Coli 0157 Food Poisoning Attorney Today!
With more than 265,000 cases reported annually, Escherichia Coli is one of the most common food-poisoning bacteria. While many different types of E. coli species exist, E. coli 0157 contributes to the most cases worldwide. So, if you have recently been diagnosed with E. coli 0157 infection and the culprit is a restaurant serving contaminated food, a food vendor serving an unpasteurized cheese sandwich, or a grocery store selling dirty vegetables and fruits, Newland & Newland, LLP can help you out.
Our food poisoning attorneys will study your case and track back your steps to find the real culprit of the infection. We will then prepare a solid case and sue the responsible party, legally binding them to give you a financial award to compensate for the hospital expense, mental anguish, and missed workdays. Schedule a free consultation with a reputed and experienced food poisoning attorney in Arlington Heights, Illinois, Chicago, Itasca, and Libertyville.