Sunday, February 11, 2018 by Rhonda Johansson
Hundreds of thousands of people fall ill from E. coli contamination each year. Despite local outcry to improve food manufacturing practices, pathogenic E. coli is still a prevalent bacterium that continues to impact the healthcare system. The most common sources of foodborne infection of E. coli are raw fruits and vegetables, unpasteurized dairy products, and improperly cooked meat.
E. coli is mostly spread through fecal contact. Food that comes into contact with either human or animal feces is more likely to have pathogenic E. coli. This should make preventing an infection easier, since the vector of contamination is in how food is prepared. However, complicated logistical practices make it difficult for health and government agencies to pinpoint where and how food is prepared and/or handled.
This guide will serve as a brief introduction to how you can guard against contamination.
Other things you should take note of:
Escherichia coli (E. coli) are bacteria found in food and in the intestines of animals and humans. E. coli refer to a large group of bacteria, with a majority of strains being harmless or beneficial to the gut. However, pathogenic E. coli can cause diarrhea, urinary tract infections, and other illnesses.
An E. coli infection manifests itself differently in people but general symptoms include stomach cramps, bloody diarrhea, and vomiting. Most people need a week to recover; but there are cases where an E. coli infection can be potentially fatal. Patients who experience severe diarrhea for more than three days accompanied by high fever should immediately seek medical attention.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that there are 265,000 E. coli infections in the United States each year. This number is said to be higher as many infected patients do not seek medical help.
You can read more articles on E. coli and how to protect your food from other contaminants at FoodScience.news.