E. Coli

E. Coli                            Escherichia Coli
E. coli was discovered by German pediatrician and bacteriologist Theodor Escherich in 1885.
It is a Gram-negative, rod shaped bacterium that is commonly found in the lower intestine of warm blooded organisms. These are typically rod-shaped, and are about 2.0 micrometres (μm) long and 0.5 μm in diameter.  
Most E. coli strains are harmless, but some serotypes can cause serious food poisoning in humans. The harmless strains are part of the normal flora of the gut, and can benefit their hosts by producing vitamin K2, and by preventing the establishment of pathogenic bacteria within the intestine.The Cells of E.Coli are able to survive outside the body for a limited amount of time, and this is a reason for its use as a test or an indicator organisms to test environmental samples for fecal contamination.
E. coli normally colonizes an infant’s gastrointestinal tract within 40 hours of birth, arriving with food or water or with the individuals handling the child.
E.Coli is an important anaerobe of human gastrointestinal tract. Anaerobes are organisms that can grow in either the presence or absence of oxygen.Fecal-oral transmission is the major route through which pathogenic strains of the bacterium cause disease in humans.
Food poisoning caused by E. coli can result from eating unwashed vegetables or undercooked meat.
 E.Coli Strain O157:H7 –  is associated with serious and life-threatening complications such as hemolytic-uremic syndrome.This strain is associated with the 2006 United States E. coli outbreak due to fresh spinach.
Certain strains of E. coli produce potentially lethal toxins.Virulent strains of E. coli can cause:

  • Gastroenteritis
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Neonatal meningitis.

In rare cases:

  • Haemolytic-uremic syndrome
  • Peritonitis
  • Mastitis
  • Septicaemia
  • Gram-negative pneumonia
If E. coli bacteria escape the intestinal tract through a perforation, for example from an ulcer, a ruptured appendix, or due to a surgical error, and enter the abdomen, may cause serious peritonitis.Urinary Tract Infection (UTI):  E. coli is responsible for approximately 90% of urinary tract infections (UTI) seen in individuals with normal urinary tract anatomy. E.Coli also causes ascending infections. Fecal bacteria colonize the urethra and spread up the urinary tract to the bladder as well as to the kidneys causing pyelonephritis. It may also cause infection of the prostate in males. Because women have a shorter urethra than men, they are 14 times more likely to suffer from an ascending UTI.Neonatal meningitis: A type of strain of E.coli which may be present in mother’s vagina gets colonized in the newborn’s intestines, lead to bacteraemia, which leads to meningitis.
Few precautions that may help to prevent infection:

  • Wash your hands carefully with soap before you start cooking and before eating.
  • Cook meat products properly. Do not eat raw meat.
  • Keep raw meat and poultry separate from other foods.
  • Don’t drink raw milk.
  • Keep food refrigerated or frozen.
  • People with diarrhoea should wash their hands carefully and often, using hot water and soap, and washing for at least 30 seconds.
  • People who work in day care centres and homes for the elderly should wash their hands often, too.
  • In restaurants, always order hamburgers that are cooked well.
  • Vegetables that are eaten raw should be thoroughly washed.
  • Peeling off outer layer of fruits and vegetables before eating would prevent infection.
Diseases & Conditions 
Organic food linked to E. coli outbreak
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