Escherichia coli, or E. coli, is a well known bacteria, commonly found in the intestines of humans and warm blooded animals. This bacteria can sometimes be pathogenic, which means that it causes illness, some of which may be fatal.
How is it spread?
Person to person:
The main cause of human transmission of E. Coli is when an individual does not wash their hands properly after a bowel movement. The individual’s hands then spread the bacteria by hand to hand contact, hand to food contact, and hand to mouth. The infected individual can also contaminate objects and surfaces in their surroundings.
Other ways E. coli infections can also be spread:
There are many food sources of E. coli, such as:
- undercooked ground beef
- unpasteurized apple cider and milk
- roast beef
- sandwich meats
- raw vegetables
- contaminated water
- unwashed fruits and vegetables.
E. coli can affect anyone – child to child, child to parent, parent to child, carer to patient and self contamination
To prevent contamination and being a carrier of this bacteria,
- Always wash your hands with soap and water before you eat
- Always wash your hands before and after you handle food
- Always wash your hands after a bowel movement
- If ill with diarrhoea, avoid preparing or handling food
- Should you not have access to soap and water, make use of a tested Anti-bacterial hand sanitiser.
Lunch-Box Buddy has been tested according to SANS 5261 to kill this germ in less than 1 minute (before it enters the body).
What infections and diseases can be caused by E. coli?
Urinary tract infections (UTIs)
About 9 in 10 urinary tract infections are caused by strains of E.coli. Many strains of E.coli can live harmlessly in the gut but, can cause a UTI if they get into the bladder and other parts of urinary tract. Girls, due to their anatomy are 4 times more likely to get a UTI than boys. Examples of UTI’s are kidney infections, cystitis and other urine infections. In the most severe cases, UTI’s can lead to sepsis or septicaemia (a severe infection spread via the blood stream), which can cause the blood pressure to drop. With poor blood flow, major organs and body systems will stop working properly and without treatment, the disease can ultimately cause death. A quarter of sepsis cases result from urinary tract infections.
Infection of the gut (gastroenteritis)
This infection can cause symptoms of the very unpleasant diarrhoea, vomiting, fever and pain the in the abdominal area. This is commonly due to various strains that do not normally live in the gut and happens when you have been in contact with other people that are infected, or from contaminated food which causes food poisoning.
These are infections that occur inside the abdomen, often when a part of the gut is damaged or perforated.
Other infections that are sometimes caused by strains of E. coli include:
- Inflammation of the lung tissue (pneumonia)
- Inflammation around the brain (meningitis)
- Septicaemia (blood infection) aka sepsis
- Infected bones
- Infected joints
- Skin and soft tissue infections (especially in people who have diabetes)