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E Coli

E Coli is a bacterium that lives in the digestive tract of humans and animals. It is generally present in the gut of warm blooded animals. Excluding the strain E coli 0157:H7, the rest of the strains are understood to be harmless. The aforementioned strain causes severe diarrhea. There are a few strains that can cause urinary tract infections or other kinds of infections. Though not diagnosed and reported as often, E coli can occur in adults as well as in children of any age group. The infection can be very severe in old people and young children. E coli infection settles down on its own within 10 days from the onset of the condition; however in a few cases it may get life threatening.


  • E-coli infection is contracted when a person comes in contact with the stool or feces of a human who is the carrier of the infectious strain.

  • E coli can also spread from person to person. When an infected person does not wash his/her hands properly and thoroughly after bowel movement, and touches another person's hand or objects there are chances of infection spread.

  • Raw meat, fruits, vegetables and milk can be contaminated by E coli. They can be the carriers of the bacteria.

  • Water is another major source of E coli bacteria. When feces of the infected person get into water bodies, the water gets contaminated and if it consumed without proper purification it can spread the bacteria.

E coli symptoms

Symptoms show up in 3-4 days after coming in contact with the infection source. Common symptoms reported include blood in the stool, bloody diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and stomach cramps. But the symptoms mentioned here are broad and they do not necessarily indicate the specific symptoms of E coli. In severe cases, symptoms may include fever, bruising, minimal urine output and pale skin.

E coli can be diagnosed through stool culture. In general the condition settles down on its own. Sipping water frequently helps the body to recover from dehydration. Do not indulge in self treatment as anti diarrhea pills at this stage may slow down the recovery. In severe cases of infection, blood transfusion and dialysis is suggested.

E coli prevention


  • Drink only treated, purified and chlorinated water.
  • Avoid eating raw fruits and vegetables while traveling out.
  • Avoid drinking water from outside taps.
  • Avoid consuming pink hamburger.
  • Avoid using ice cubes from unclean sources.
  • Defrost meat in oven or in the refrigerator, do not allow it to defrost on its own over the counter.
  • Cook all types of beef at 160 degrees F.
  • Do not taste raw ground beef while cooking.
  • Do not transfer cooked beef to a plate that had raw beef before.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water after using the bathroom.
  • In the kitchen wash your hands thoroughly with warm water and soap particularly after handling meat products.
  • Always store raw meat, poultry and other food items separately.
  • Use pasteurized milk and dairy products.
  • Do not drink water without boiling it.
  • Refrigerate left over food immediately if you plan to consume it again.

Osteomyelitis

Osteomyelitis is a medical condition that results from bone infection. The bacteria Staphylococcus aureus is usually the cause of Osteomyelitis. Other possible causes for Osteomyelitis are streptococcus and E. coli. Infection is caused either through the bloodstream or direct bone infection through open wounds or fractures. Surgery, fungal infection, injury or boils can be the source for contamination and infection. Typically the infection results in the formation of pus and abscess in the bone. The blood supply to the bone is affected and Osteomyelitis sets in. Osteomyelitis can affect adults and children. While the long bones of the limbs are usually affected in children, the pelvic or back bone of adults is affected. Chronic Osteomyelitis sets in when there is prolonged loss of blood supply to the affected bone tissue. This can happen in diabetics, dialysis patients and those who abuse drugs intravenously. Persons whose spleen has been removed may be at higher risk for Osteomyelitis.


Osteomyelitis can attack more than one bone at a time. Symptoms of Osteomyelitis are localized swelling and redness in the affected bone area. The patient feels ill and nauseous. There might be fever and pain too. In some cases, Osteomyelitis also results in swelling of feet and ankles or lower back pain. The nagging joint pain fails to respond to pain medications and there is intense pain on touching. There is weight loss and severe fatigue. Tests to diagnose this condition include bone scans and MRI of infected bones. Blood tests and cultures can help identify the type of bacterial infection so that the right course of treatment can be adopted. Blood tests will reveal higher ESR and elevated WBC count in those affected by Osteomyelitis. X-rays can reveal the extent of infection in the affected bone. A biopsy of affected bone tissue can also help identify the bacterial infection.


With early diagnosis, this infection can be treated with antibiotics. Often the antibiotics are given intravenously. Treatment for Osteomyelitis involved hospitalization and bed rest. But newer forms of oral antibiotic therapy have been successful in penetrating bone tissue. This has drastically reduced the need for prolonged hospitalization. In chronic cases of Osteomyelitis, surgical removal of dead bone tissue is required. Bone grafting is done to promote growth of new bone tissue. In rare cases, Osteomyelitis can lead to blood poisoning (septicemia) and destruction of the bone.


Diarrhea

Diarrhea is a common illness caused worldwide. It is caused due to various reasons; infectious organisms such as bacteria, viruses and parasites of intestinal origin. The predominant clinical factor with respect to diarrhea is the onset of vomiting and fever causing extreme dehydration which is fatal and sometimes life threatening.

Bacterial diarrhea: In this case, bacteria such as Salmonella and Shigella and enterogenic E.coli cause damage to the intestinal wall causing more bowel movements and enteric fever. The diagnosis of bacterial diarrhea is done by stool culture and by serological analysis in case of Salmonella induced fever.

Viral Diarrhea: Viral diarrhea is most commonly noticed in children and it is usually self limiting after a period of four to five days. Symptoms include weakness, fever, irritability and sometimes vomiting.

Parasites: Intestinal parasites especially protozoan such as Giardia, Entamoeba and cryptosporidium cause diarrhea. Some are zoonotic on origin and mostly caused by feco-oral route.

Drug Induced: Diarrhea can also be caused because of the administration of certain type drugs such as antibiotics, anticancer and magnesium containing antacids.

Food allergies: Food induced diarrhea is common with those who eat at various places often. Some people are lactose intolerant and consumption of any diary product may induce diarrhea.

Treatment of Diarrhea

Diarrhea can be fatal if untreated. The most common form of treatment is through fluid replacement, rest and consumption of probiotics during the administration of antibiotics. Anti-parasitic drugs and antibiotics are most often prescribed. The WHO recommends ORS solutions in case children and adults as the preliminary step towards treatment and prevention of dehydration.

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Collection of Pages - Last revised Date: October 18, 2017