Bacterial Safety

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  • Created by: Tanya
  • Created on: 21-05-12 19:19

What is E. Coli ?

 E. coli normally lives inside yourintestines, where it helps yourbody break down and

digest the food you eat. Unfortunately, certain types (called strains) ofE. coli can get

 from the intestines into the blood. This is a rare illness, but it can cause a very 

serious infection.

What types of disease does E. Coli cause?

The most commonest infection caused by E. Coli is infection of the urinary tract, the organism ussually spreading from the gut to the urinary tract. E. Coli is also the most common cause of cystitis (infection of the bladder) and in a minority of patients the infection may spread up the urinary tract to the kidneys, causing pyelonephritis. Otherwise healthy patients in the community may develop cystitis, and patients in hospital who have catheters, or tubes, placed in the urethra and bladder are also at risk. E. Coli is also present in the bacteria that cause inta-abdominal infections following leakage from the gut into the abdomen , as for example with a ruptured appendix or following traumatic injury to the abdomen.

E. Coli bacteria may also cause in the intestine. Diarrhoeal infections (intestinal) are caused by a group of E. Coli known as enterovirulent (harmful to the intestines). Overspill from the primary infection sites to the bloodstream may cause blood poisoning (e.coli bacteraemia). In rare circumstances E. Coli may cause meningitis in very young children.

How do you get E. Coli? 

Most people normally carry harmless strains of E. Coli in their intestine. Both the harmless strains and the strains that cause diarrhoea are acquired primarily through ingestion of contaminated food or water. Person - to - person transmission is through the oral - faecal route.


Someone who has E. coliinfection may have thesesymptoms:

  • bad stomach cramps andbelly pain
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea, sometimes withblood in it
  • Nausea
  • Frequent urge to urinate and a painful/burning sensation during urination.
  • More severe infections involving the kidneys are often associated with back pain and fever.

Who do these bacteria affect? Are some people more at risk?

Intestinal infections in young children can be particularly severe because they cannot tolerate much fluid and blood loss but all age groups are


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