Shiga Toxin-Producing Escherichia Coli
Escherichia coli is a bacteria species found commonly in the human and animals intestines. An E. coli bacterium leads to the development of infections within the intestines. One of the common intestinal infections is the E. coli O157: H7. The infection leads to the development of STEC (Shiga toxin-producing E. coli) that occurs in the form of a strain. People with low immunity, expectant mothers, children, and old people are more prone to be affected by this disease. STEC infections result from poor food preparation methods, and in some cases, use of contaminated food or water. Proper food preparation methods are significant to prevent this type of disease infection. This paper discusses symptoms of STEC and its various prevention methods. During 2000-2010, FoodNet sites reported 2006 cases of non-O157 STEC infection and 5688 cases of O157 STEC infections in the US (Gould et al., 2013).
STEC is a foodborne disease characterized by abdominal pains which are usually painful during sneezing, coughing, or stretching. Sudden and severe diarrhea is also a common sign. The stool of the affected patients usually contains blood. Patients also experience uncomfortable gases in the stomach, loss of appetite, and nausea occasionally. Vomiting, fatigue, and fever are amongst symptoms of STEC infection. In scenarios where the illness is uncontrollable, the symptoms that can be seen in patients include pale skin, dehydration, decreased urine output, and bruising.
Since E. coli is a foodborne bacterial infection, contaminated food is likely to be the reason for the infection. Therefore, care should be taken to ensure that food is prepared hygienically and should be consumed fresh (Gould et al., 2013). Fruits and vegetables should be washed and consumed. Drinking water must be purified by chlorination and boiling, if necessary. Since the disease is contagious and spreads through the oral/fecal route, hygiene should be strictly practiced.
Gould, L., Mody, R., Ong, K., Clogher, P., Cronquist, A., Garman, K., . . . White, P. (2013). Increased recognition of non-O157 Shiga toxin–producing Escherichia coli infections in the United States during 2000–2010: epidemiologic features and comparison with E. coli O157 infections. Foodborne Pathogens and Disease, 10(5), 453-460. doi:10.1089/fpd.2012.1401