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E.coli 0157: H7

E. coli is the name of a type of bacteria that lives in the intestines. Most types of E. coli are harmless, however, some types can make one sick and cause diarrhea, as in the case of travelers' diarrhea.

Another particular E. coli strain called 0157:H7 can cause severe diarrhea and kidney damage. Anyone of any age can become infected with E. coli 0157:H7, but children and the elderly are more likely to develop serious complications. The E. coli 0157:H7 live in the intestines of healthy cattle, and contamination of the meat may occur in the slaughtering process. Eating meat that is rare or inadequately cooked is the most common way of getting an E. coli 0157:H7 infection. Infection can also occur after consuming foods such as lettuce, alfalfa sprouts, salami, and unpasteurized milk, juice or cider. Person-to person transmission can occur if infected individuals do not wash their hands after using the toilet. Individuals infected with E. coli 0157:H7 can develop a range of symptoms. Symptoms may include mild diarrhea or no symptoms at all. Most identified cases, however, develop severe diarrhea and abdominal cramps and blood is often seen in the stool. Usually little or no fever is present.

The symptoms usually appear about three days after exposure and last from one to nine days.

NIH: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

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