What is it?
- E.coli 0157:H7 is a type of E.coli that makes a poison and can cause severe illness.
- Most kinds of E. coli are harmless and live in the intestines (bowel) of healthy animals and humans
Signs and Symptoms
- Symptoms can appear within 2 to 5 days after swallowing the bacteria in food or water but may occur as late as 10 days after ingestion of the bacteria
- You may have stomach pains, bloody diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, but usually no fever
How do you get it?
- Eating contaminated food
- Eating meat (especially ground beef) that is rare or undercooked is the most common way of becoming infected
- Contact with animals or animal feces (stool), drinking unpasteurized milk and swimming in or drinking water contaminated with sewage
- May pass person to person: adults are contagious for a week or less, but some children may be contagious for 3 weeks
- Most people recover without treatment in 5-10 days.
- Haemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) is a serious problem that occurs in some infected people, where red blood cells are destroyed and kidney failure occurs.
- Eat only thoroughly cooked meats
- Drink only pasteurized milk
- Wash cutting boards, utensils, and hands thoroughly
- Wash all fruits and vegetables before eating
- Wash your hands thoroughly with soap before and after handling foods, before eating, and after using the toilet or changing diapers
- Ensure your drinking water is safe. Test your well water at least 3 times per year
E. coli is a reportable disease and must be reported to the Local Medical Officer of Health under the Health Protection and Promotion Act.