E. coli is a type of bacteria that normally live in the intestines of people and animals. However, some types of E. coli, particularly E. coli 0157:H7, can cause intestinal infection. E. coli is the name of a type of bacteria that lives in your intestines. Most types of E. coli are harmless. However, some types can make you sick and cause diarrhea. One type causes travelers' diarrhea. 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.
In a prospective study in September 2005, stool specimens of children below the age of 16 years with (n = 187) and without (n = 137) diarrhea were tested for the presence of enterovirulent bacteria by standard culture methods and by PCR. The following bacteria could be associated with diarrhea: Salmonella enterica (P = 0.001), Campylobacter spp. (P = 0.036), ETEC (P = 0.012), and EAEC (P = 0.006). The detection of EAEC, ETEC, and S. enterica was strongly associated with a history of recent travel outside of Switzerland. EAEC isolates were found in the specimens of 19 (10.2%) of 187 children with diarrhea and in those of 3 (2.2%) of 137 children without diarrhea (P = 0.006) and were the most frequently detected bacteria associated with diarrhea. Enteropathogenic E. coli isolates were found in the specimens of 30 (16.4%) of the patients and in those of 15 (10.9%) of the controls, with similar frequencies in all age groups (P > 0.05). They concluded that conclude that EAEC bacteria are involved in a significant proportion of diarrhea cases among children. Children younger than 5 years of age are more often affected by EAEC than older children.
E. coli infections by eating foods containing the bacteria. Symptoms of infection include nausea or vomiting, severe abdominal cramps, Watery or very bloody diarrhea, fatigue, fever. The symptoms are worse in children and older people, and especially in people who have another illness. E. coli infection is more common during the summer months and in northern states. Symptoms start about 7 days after you are infected with the germ.
The most common way to get this infection is by eating contaminated food. You can be infected with the E. coli germ if you don't use a high temperature to cook your beef, or if you don't cook it long enough. When you eat undercooked beef, the germs go into your stomach and intestines. The germ can also be passed from person to person in day care centers and nursing homes. People who are infected with E. coli are very contagious. Children shouldn't go to a day care center until they have 2 negative stool cultures (proof that the infection is gone). Older people in nursing homes should stay in bed until 2 stool cultures are negative.
Intestinal infection can lead to dehydration and serious complications, such as kidney failure and sometimes death, if it’s not treated. Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) occurs when people consume contaminated foods or liquids. Healthcare providers use lab tests to identify Shiga toxin-producing E. coli in stool samples. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, early supportive treatment is important for people with E. coli infection, especially those who have Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC). There is no evidence that treatment with antibiotics is helpful, and taking antibiotics may increase the risk of hemolytic uremic syndrome, a serious complication of STEC that can lead to kidney failure. There is no special treatment, except drinking a lot of water and watching for complications. Serious dehydration might need to go to the hospital to have fluids put into your veins with an IV.