E. coli bacteria (Escherichia coli): what are the symptoms and what is the risk?


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E. coli bacteria (Escherichia coli): what are the symptoms and what is the risk?


Heavily handicapped after eating a frozen ground steak contaminated with E.Coli bacteria in 2011, Nolan, 10, died Saturday, September 14 because of this intoxication. Escherichia Coli, but what is it?

Introduced to 80% in the composition of the intestinal flora, Escherichia Coli ensures an essential mission of protection against bacterial attack. She also plays a important role in the production process of vitamin K, essential for blood clotting. But if the majority of strains of E. Coli are totally harmless to the man, a minority of them can be formidable and cause, in particular, intestinal infections of varying intensity.

What are the pathogenic strains and their symptoms?

Pathogenic strains of E. Coli are classified in five divisions :

  • E. enterotoxic E. coli (ECET): responsible for the "turista", this strain also causes diarrhea Acute aqueous accompanied by dehydration in children under 3 years old.
  • Entero-invasive E. coli (ECEI): it causes dysentery syndromes (important diarheas) likely to progress to dysentery.
  • E. Enteropathogenic E. coli (ECEP): this bacterium causes infantile gastroenteritis (in children under two years).
  • E. Enterohemorrhagic Coli (EHEC): She is responsible for colitis hemorrhagic.
  • E. Enteroaggregative E. coli (ECEAgg): it induces stunting and diarrhea persistent.

What is the mode of contamination?

It is the animals, and more particularly the cattle, which represent the major reservoir of E. coli strains. Most harmful parcel.

Their transmission to humans is therefore by through contaminated food by infected animal waste. This may be due to vegetables or poorly washed fruits, sprouted seeds that are insufficiently rinsed or at a poorly cooked minced meat.

The mode of faecal-oral transmission between a person and a contaminated animal remains one of the main vectors of contamination. It is also possible that transmission of the pathogenic bacteria is via water since some strains can survive in aqueous environments (wells, cisterns, boreholes, streams ...).

How do pathogenic bacteria act?

Once the pathogenic strains are introduced into the body, they will cling to the intestinal wall which is already occupied by harmless Escherichia Coli bacteria. But these pathogens have a much higher adhesion power, which allows them without difficulty proliferate within the intestinal flora, and even to colonize areas hitherto unexplored by naturally occurring strains.

Before the immune response can put a plan of attack in place, these bacteria will already have caused more or less significant damage according to their mode of action. Indeed, some strains secrete toxins while some others use cell functions as they please.

E. Coli infection: which treatments?

Infections caused by the bacterium Escherichia Coli are not usually not treated with antibiotics. If antibiotic drugs effectively eliminate bacteria, they will eliminate all promote the release of toxins emitted by the bacteria called Shiga-toxins.

However, the latter are responsible for the Hemolytic Syndrome and Uremic, or HUS, which is characterized by kidney damage, anemia and a drop in blood platelets.

In this case, the assumption of responsibility essentially consists in overcoming these various deficits by the implementation of dialysis, a blood transfusion or Plasma exchange.

For relieve acute diarrhea, the rehydration occupies an essential place in the treatment since administration of antidiarrheal substances is not recommended so as not to hinder the natural escape of the bacteria.

How to prevent an E. coli infection?

Several hygiene measures can significantly reduce the risk of contamination:

  • wash your hands regularly, especially after each passage to the toilet;
  • wash vegetables and fruits carefullyespecially if they are eaten raw;
  • cook ground meat at a high temperature (70 ° C at heart) for at least two minutes. Unmixed meats only require one round trip;
  • remove the packaging before putting food products in the refrigerator;
  • do not give raw milk milk products to children very young ;
  • wash the kitchen linen at 60 ° C ...

Read also :

⋙ E. coli bacteria and cereals related to colorectal cancer?

⋙ E. coli: the steps to take to reduce the risk of contamination

⋙ Diarrhea: 5 tips to overcome

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