E. Coli News

E. coli is the common term for a strain of bacteria known as Escherichia coli. Though some forms of E. coli are harmless and live in the body, others cause illnesses such as diarrhea, vomiting and even life-threatening complications.


An E. coli infection generally originates with contaminated food and water, although it can also be passed on by an infected person or animal. Undercooked red meat; raw, unwashed fruits and vegetables; and raw, unpasteurized varieties of milks and cheeses are major risks for E. coli infection. It can also come from contaminated water sources, whether it’s drinking water or an area where you swim. Contact with animals or the feces of an infected person can put you at risk, too.

Symptoms of E. Coli

Diarrhea, nausea and stomach cramping are typically symptoms of sickness from E. coli. Some strains of E. coli can cause severe cramping and bloody diarrhea and make you dangerously ill, necessitating prompt medical attention. Ultimately, the complications of infection with certain strains of E. coli can include kidney failure and even death.

Prevention and Treatment

The best weapon against a dangerous E. coli infection is prevention. That includes thorough and frequent washing of hands, particularly after handling food, touching animals, changing diapers or coming in contact with dirty water sources. It’s also very important to cook meats thoroughly, wash all fruits and vegetables thoroughly, and avoid “raw,” unpasteurized forms of dairy products. Drink from only safe water sources, and avoid swallowing any water when swimming. Also be sure to check for any product recall notices that are related to an E. coli contamination.

If you get an E. coli infection, hydration and rest are recommended. Usually, the infection passes within a week or two. But, if you notice any alarming symptoms, particularly bloody diarrhea or excessive vomiting, see a doctor immediately. Physicians can test to isolate and identify the type of E. coli that you have and determine the proper treatment.

SOURCES: U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; U.S. Department of Health & Human Services

Date Posted
Article Title
1 in 4 Nursing Home Residents Has Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria

More infection-prevention education and policies are needed, study findings suggest

Hospital Sinks May Be Awash in 'Superbugs'

Study finds drug-resistant bacteria can colonize in drains, spread to sinks and eventually reach patients

Fast Action Can Prevent Sepsis Death: CDC

Know the signs of extreme response to infection, consider it a 'medical emergency'

2nd U.S. Case of Bacteria Resistant to Last-Resort Antibiotic

Scientists concerned it could lead to more drug-resistant germs

FDA Says 'No' to Eating Raw Cookie Dough

Illness-inducing germs such as E. coli can lurk in uncooked flour, agency warns

Antibiotic Resistance Common in Kids' Urinary Tract Infections

Researchers say threat is worrisome because children are at high risk of kidney complications

Immunity Genes for E.Coli Found

Scientists see DNA as key factor in why illness strikes randomly

Small Hospitals Seeing More Drug-Resistant E. Coli Infections

Study suggests these tougher germs aren't limited to large medical centers

Clearing Land Around Farms Doesn't Improve Food Safety

Expert says diverse plant life may even help filter bacteria and chemical run-off

Helpful Bacteria May Help Detect Cancers That Have Spread to Liver

Researchers used harmless strain of E. coli to find metastatic disease in mice

U.S. Making Headway Against Salmonella, E. coli: CDC

But other types of food-borne bacteria, including Campylobacter and Vibrio, are on the rise

E. Coli Germs Found on Farmers Market Herbs

Nearly one-quarter of samples from West Coast vendors tested positive, study says

Despite Proper Cleaning, Endoscopes May Pass on E. coli

Study found different sterilization technique could prevent this complication

'Fist Bump' May Beat Handshake for Cleanliness

U.K. researchers found it transferred about a tenth of the bacteria that gripping hands did

Could Cow Fertilizer Help Spread Antibiotic Resistance?

Researchers found high levels of genes for drug resistance in manure from dairy cattle

Hospital-Related Infections Hit Nearly 650,000 Patients in 2011: CDC

Specific source of dangerous germs still unclear in about half of cases

How 1 Hospital Combats E. Coli Germ in Food

Swiss facility had high rates of contamination with drug-resistant strain, but proper preparation cut risk

'Five-Second' Food Rule May Be Real, Study Finds

Microbiology professor and students test the theory, find it isn't just a myth

Study Finds Widespread Contamination in Chicken

Potentially harmful bacteria and antibiotic resistance common in 316 raw poultry samples tested

E. Coli 'Superbug' May Pose Major Health Threat: Study

Drug-resistant H30-Rx strain can lead to blood infection, researchers say

Doctors Warn Against Raw Milk for Kids, Pregnant Women

Policy statement from pediatricians' group bolstered by Minnesota study on foodborne illness

Could E. Coli Vaccine for Cows Cut Human Infections?

Study of Scottish cattle suggests spread to people would drop by 85 percent

Could Adaptable Bacteria Cause Repeat Urinary Tract Infections?

Study of 4 women found E. coli that 'migrated' and thrived

Number of U.S. Foodborne Illness Cases Stalled: CDC

More vigilance needed from regulators, industry and consumers, health official says

Antiobiotic Resistance Spikes During Flu Season

Many more prescriptions written during those months, researchers explain

Could Compound in Artificial Sweeteners Worsen Crohn's Disease?

Lab study suggests maltodextrin may encourage growth of E. coli bacteria in small intestine

One Antibiotic Appears to Ease Severe E. Coli Infection

Small study looked at bacteria that caused German outbreak

Raw Milk Causes Most Illness From Dairy Products: CDC

Twice as many outbreaks occur in states where unpasteurized milk is legal

E. Coli in Chicken Linked to Urinary Tract Infections

Study found genetic fingerprints of poultry bacteria matched those found in patients

Recent E. Coli Outbreak Traced to Lettuce From One Farm: CDC

Romaine lettuce likely source of bacteria that sickened 60 people, investigation reveals

Southeast U.S. Still Using High Levels of Antibiotics, Study Shows

But overall, use of antibiotics fell nationwide about 12% between 1999 and 2007

1 in 6 Cellphones in Britain Contaminated With 'Fecal Matter'

Study often turned up E. coli, pointing to poor hand-washing as the culprit