5 Interesting Facts About E Coli Bacteria
There are good bacteria and then there are the bad bacteria. Humans have bacteria in their system to help them aid in digestion and other reasons. E.Coli is one such bacterium found in the gastrointestinal tract of human beings and is normal. However not all E.coli strains are beneficial to the human body. There are some which are able to produce a toxin that can cause serious infection in human beings. Animals that feed on grass, especially cattle are known reservoirs of E.coli and this can be transmitted to humans through fecal contamination, contaminated or under cooked food and through water. Here are some interesting facts about E.coli Bacteria.
1. Humans get infected with E.coli through contaminated food or water
The incubation period of the bacteria is about 3-4 days after which a variety of gastrointestinal symptoms appear. The symptoms can be mild diarrhea, slight fever or sever diarrhea with no fever. However in rare cases, especially with children under five and elderly people, this can get serious and they can develop “haemolytic Uraemic syndrome which causes kidney failure, bleeding and other neurological problems. The death rate is about 3-5 % in such cases.
2. Transmission of E.coli
Humans get infected through contact with food or water contaminated with E.coli. People to people transmission are also possible when there is really close contact. Places such as hospices, childcare centers and homes are likely locations.
3. A lot of food items have been identified as possible E.coli outbreaks
Raw milk and cheese, under cooked beef, fresh produce such as spinach, sprouts and lettuce, unpasteurized apple cider are some examples. A recent outbreak of STEC 0157 E.coli infection was linked to walnuts. And new sources keep being identified.