Travel Health - Dealing with Travelers' Diarrhea Caused by E Coli Bacteria
Guide to Common Travel Health Problems - Travelers' Diarrhea
Caused by The Bacteria : Escherichia coli (E Coli)
diarrhea medications and electrolyte diarrhea remedies
The effects of Diarrhea (alternative spelling: diarrhoea) can last for days or weeks, causing
Escherichia coli O157:H7 and other strains of E Coli - Overview
E. coli enteritis is an inflammation of the small intestine caused by Escherichia coli (E. coli)
bacteria. E. coli enteritis is a type of bacterial gastroenteritis. The symptoms are a result of
toxins or bacterial invasion into the intestine. The incubation period (the time it takes for the
germ to cause illness) is 24 - 72 hours. Different strains of E Coli account for most cases of
routine traveler's diarrhea. There are hundreds of strains of E. coli, most of which are harmless
(such as the varieties living in the intestines of healthy people) others cause mild to severe
cases of diarrhea and other symptoms (see below). The more serious E. coli O157:H7 can live
in the intestines of healthy cattle, but causes severe illness or even death in humans.
Ground beef from slaughtered infected cattle may carry E. coli O157:H7, as can raw milk if the
cow's udders or milking equipment are contaminated. Other food contaminations can occur as
a result of contaminated water or soil, or from unsanitary food-handling processes.
Symptoms of E.coli
Symptoms can begin anytime from 12 hours to 5 days, they include diarrhea progressing to
bloody diarrhea abdominal cramps, nausea and bloating. In infants, children and the elderly the
illness can progress to cause kidney failure.
Likely Contaminated Food Sources
The food sources most likely to be contaminated include raw or undercooked ground beef,
contaminated and un-chlorinated drinking water, raw fruits and vegetables (especially lettuce),
salami, raw or un-pasteurized milk, and un-pasteurized apple cider or orange juice.
Protect Yourself From Diarrhea Caused by E Coli
Cook all ground beef until there is no hint of pink left in the meat. The inside of a hamburger
should be hot and the color gray or brown. Eat and drink only pasteurized milk and milk
products. When traveling abroad, especially in 3rd world countries, do not drink potentially
contaminated water (including ice cubes) that could be is contaminated with E.coli, or eat fruits
and vegetables washed in tap water. Wash hands with soap thoroughly before eating or
handling food. Hand-washing also helps to avoid the spread of infection.
Treatment of E.coli
There is no direct treatment for diarrhea caused by E Coli other than rehydration with electrolyte
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