infections are a type of foodborne illness that peaks during
the summer months, according to the Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention (CDC).
Nipunie Rajapakse, a pediatric infectious diseases specialist
at Mayo Clinic, says there are many strains of E. coli
bacteria that may cause serious illness for those infected.
coli stands for Escherichia coli, which is a type of bacteria
that can cause food or waterborne illness in people,"
says Rajapakse. "It’s a relatively common cause of
illness. There’s a type of E. coli that people may have
heard of called O157:H7. It’s a specific type of E. coli
that can cause bloody diarrhea and has been associated with a
condition that can cause kidney damage especially in young
form of kidney failure that can be life-threatening is called
hemolytic uremic syndrome.
ASSOCIATED WITH E. COLI
also can be found in the environment and in the intestines of
humans and animals so contamination of food can occur in
foods are at a higher risk for transmitting E. coli
infection," says Rajapakse. "Most commonly, we hear
about it in raw or undercooked hamburger meat. However, any
type of food that comes into contact with raw or undercooked
meat may lead to cross-contamination. Salads, fruits and
vegetables can transmit, as well, and we do occasionally see
outbreaks related to those types of products."
foods carrying a high risk of E. coli infection include
unpasteurized milk, unpasteurized apple cider, and soft
cheeses made from raw milk.
OF E. COLI
coli generally causes relatively mild illness in otherwise
healthy people. But in certain populations, E. coli can cause
severe illness especially in people who have weakened immune
systems, people who have underlying digestive system problems,
young children, the elderly, and pregnant women," says
should generally not be used for treatment and in some cases
may increase the risk of developing hemolytic uremic syndrome.
Most people are better in about one week.
offers these tips to prevent E. coli illness:
your hands thoroughly after using the bathroom or changing
diapers and before preparing or eating food. Also, wash your
hands thoroughly after contact with animals.
meats thoroughly. Ground beef and meat that has been
needle-tenderized should be cooked to a temperature of at
least 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
Avoid raw milk, unpasteurized dairy products and unpasteurized
Avoid swallowing water when swimming or playing in lakes,
ponds, streams and swimming pools.
Prevent cross-contamination in food preparation areas by
thoroughly washing hands, counters, cutting boards and
utensils after they touch raw meat.