Escherichia coli


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Escherichia coli

  1. 1. orps2013@yahoo.comWhat Is E. Coli? (Escherichia Coli)Escherichia coli, also known as E. coli is a bacterium that is commonlyfound in the gut of endotherms (warm blooded organisms).Escherichia coli commonly abbreviated E. 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, butsome serotypes can cause serious food poisoning in humans, and areoccasionally responsible for product recalls due to food contamination.The harmless strains are part of the normal flora of the gut, and canbenefit their hosts by producing vitamin K2, and by preventing theestablishment of pathogenic bacteria within the intestine.Name of E. Coli (Escherichia Coli)German pediatrician and bacteriologist, Theodor Escherich discovered thebacterium in 1885, hence its name. E. coli is now classified as part of theEnterobacteriaceae family of gamma-proteobacteria.A healthy adult will usually make a full recovery from E. coli O157:H7infection within 5 to 7 days. However, young children, elderly individualsand patients with weakened immune systems can develop potentially fatalHUS (hemolytic uremic syndrome), a type of kidney failure.• Several types of E. coli exist as part of the normal flora of the humangut and have many beneficial functions, such as the production ofvitamin K2. They also prevent harmful bacteria, known aspathogenic bacteria, from establishing themselves in the intestine.• Most E. coli strains pose no harm to human health, except forserotype O157:H7, which can cause food poisoning in humans andcan become life-threatening.According to Medilexicons medical dictionary, Escherichia coli is:"A species that occurs normally in the intestines of humans and othervertebrates, is widely distributed in nature, and is a frequent cause ofinfections of the urogenital tract and of neonatal meningitis and diarrhea ininfants; enteropathogenic strains (serovars) of Escherichia coli causediarrhea due to enterotoxin, the production of which seems to beassociated with a transferable episome; the type species of the genus."
  2. 2. (Page #02)Signs and symptoms of E. coli O157:H7 infectionThe patient will typically experience symptoms within three to four daysafter being exposed to the bacteria, however, in some cases they mayappear within a day or a week later.The individual may experience:1. Abdominal pain - typically, the first symptom is severe abdominalcramping that comes on suddenly.2. Diarrhea - a few hours after the sudden abdominal pain, the patienttypically has watery diarrhea. A day later there may be bright redbloody stools, caused by sores in the intestines.3. Nausea4. Vomiting - note that many patients who become ill may not vomit5. Fever - note that many infected people may not have a fever6. Fatigue - diarrhea causes loss of fluids and electrolytes(dehydration), making the patient feel sick and tired. What are the causes of E. coli O157:H7 infection?Most strains of E. coli are harmless. However, one group, including0157:H7, produces a potent toxin - Shiga toxin - that is harmful for thelining of the small intestine.Humans can become infected by:1. Ingesting contaminated water - even though tap water containschlorine and has undergone ozone or ultraviolet treatment, some E.coli outbreaks have been caused by contaminated municipal watersupplies. Private wells can be a source of infection, as can somelakes and swimming pools.2. Ingesting contaminated food - examples include ground beef,unpasteurized milk, or fresh vegetables. Infected people who workin restaurants and do not wash their hands properly after going tothe toilet can spread the infection to customers and other membersof staff.3. Having physical contact with an infected person, known as person-to-person contact. Good hand hygiene is important in stemming thespread of infection.4. Contact with animals - this may not only occur in farms, but also inpetting zoos or country fairs.
  3. 3. (Page #03)E. coli infection risk factorsA risk factor is something which raises the chances of developing acondition or disease. For example, obesity significantly raises the risk ofdeveloping type 2 diabetes. Therefore, obesity is a risk factor for type 2diabetes.The following risk factors are linked to a higher risk of problems with E.coli infection:1. Certain foods - consuming soft cheeses, raw milk, apple juice, cider,and undercooked ground beef are linked to a higher risk ofbecoming ill2. Immunocompromised patients - those with weakened immunesystems, such as patients with AIDS, those takingimmunosuppressive medications, and people receivingchemotherapy are susceptible to complications.3. Stomach surgery - patients who have had the size of their stomachsurgically reduced have less stomach acid that kills off bacteria.4. The persons age - very young children and elderly individuals havea higher risk of developing serious illness and complicationsE. coli infection complicationsThe vast majority of infected individuals make a full recovery within aweek. However, susceptible individuals (mentioned above) may develophemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS).1. Hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) - this condition is characterizedby hemolysis (breakup of red blood cells) and kidney failure.Platelets, the red blood cells that are responsible for blood clotting,clump together within the small blood vessels of the kidneys,resulting in reduced blood flow (ischemia) and eventually leading tokidney failure. Decreased platelets also increase the risk of bleedingproblems.2. The patient can develop CNS (central nervous system) problems,including seizures, and can also go into a coma.3. Kidney failure among infants and young children is usually causedby HUS.
  4. 4. (Page #04)Patients start off with E. coli infection symptoms1. severe abdominal cramps,2. diarrhea which eventually becomes bloody,3. and nausea and vomiting (sometimes).4. While the majority of patients make a full recovery within a week to10 days, approximately 6% go on to develop HUS.5. The majority are young children and elderly individuals. Between 3%to 5% of patients with HUS die, according to the National Institutesof Health, USA.How is E. coli infection diagnosed?The doctor identifies the signs, asks the patients about symptoms, andsends a stool sample to a lab for analysis.What are the treatment options for E. coli infection?1. No current treatments can cure E. coli O157:H7, it has to run itscourse.2. Most doctors advise patients to get plenty of rest and drink lots ofwater to prevent dehydration.3. The patient should avoid taking OTC medications for diarrhea, as allthis will do is slow down the digestive system, undermining thebodys ability to eliminate the toxins fast enough.Prevention• Cook meat well - especially ground meat.• Drinks - pasteurized milk, apple juice or cider are safer thanunpasteurized.• Wash vegetables - especially leafy green ones. Washing thoroughlymight not protect you completely, but it helps.• Wash cutlery and crockery - make sure knives, forks, plates andserving dishes are thoroughly washed with warm, soapy water.• Store foods separately - use separate cutting boards, do not storeraw ground beef right next to other foods.• Hand hygiene - wash your hands thoroughly with warm water andsoap after going to the toilet, before preparing foods, after preparingfoods, and after touching animals. Wash your hands regularly.________________________________________________________________Thanks.
  5. 5. For ORPs Educational Programme, Karachi.
  6. 6. For ORPs Educational Programme, Karachi.