• Escherichia coli Infection

    ( E. coli Infection, Escherichia coli O157:H7)


    Escherichia coli ( E. coli ) infection is caused by a bacteria. It is the leading cause of bloody diarrhea.


    This infection is caused by some types of the E. coli bacterium. Most E. coli infections are caused by:
    • Eating undercooked beef, especially ground beef
    • Drinking contaminated water
    • Drinking unpasteurized milk
    • Working with cattle
    Digestive Pathway Through Stomach and Intestines
    Digestive pathway
    Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

    Risk Factors

    This condition is more common in children and older adults.
    Factors that increase your chance of developing E. coli infection include:
    • People with another illness
    • Working with cattle
    • Living in northern states


    Symptoms of E. coli infection include:


    You will be asked about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. Your waste material may be tested. This can be done with a stool culture.


    Talk with your doctor about the best plan for you. Treatment options include:

    Fluid Replacement and Monitoring

    Most people will get better in 5-10 days. They rarely need a specific treatment. Avoid medication that stops diarrhea. Drink plenty of water and fluids. Fluids through an IV line may be needed in cases of severe dehydration .

    Treatment for Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS)

    HUS is a life-threatening condition. It occurs in some people with E. coli infection. HUS may need to be treated with blood transfusions and kidney dialysis . Symptoms may include:
    • Pale complexion, tiredness, and irritability
    • Small, unexplained bruises, or bleeding from the nose or mouth—caused by problems in the body’s clotting mechanism
    Kidney Dialysis
    Dialysis pump
    Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.


    To help prevent E. coli infection:
    • Cook all ground beef and hamburger thoroughly.
    • Avoid eating undercooked hamburger or other ground beef.
    • Keep raw meats separate from ready-to-eat foods.
    • Wash hands, counters, and utensils with hot soapy water after they are exposed to raw meat.
    • Drink only pasteurized milk, juice, and cider.
    • Wash fruits and vegetables under running water.
    • Drink municipal water that has been treated with a disinfectant.
    • Wash hands after bowel movements and after changing soiled diapers.


    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention http://www.cdc.gov

    National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases http://www.niaid.nih.gov


    Canadian Food Inspection Agency http://www.inspection.gc.ca

    Public Health Agency of Canada http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca


    EColi infection. American Academy of Family Physicians website. Available at: http://familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/diseases-conditions/ecoli-infection.html. Updated April 2014. Accessed December 18, 2014.

    E. coli (Escherichia coli) . Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/ecoli/. Updated December 1, 2014. Accessed December 18, 2014.

    Frequently asked questions about Escherichia Coli infection. New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services website. Available at: http://www.nj.gov/health/cd/documents/factsheets/f%5Fecoli.pdf. Accessed December 18, 2014.

    Revision Information

  • LiveWell personal health survey

    How healthy are you really? Find out – free.Learn more

    It's time to stop guessing. If you want to make some changes but just aren't sure how, the free personal health survey from LiveWell is a great place to start.

  • HeartSHAPE Spotlight

    At risk for a heart attack? Learn more

    Fight heart disease and prevent heart attacks. HeartSHAPE® is a painless, non-invasive test that checks pictures of your heart for early-stage coronary disease.

  • Calories and Energy Needs

    Calorie NeedsLearn more

    How many calories do you need to eat each day to maintain your weight and fuel your physical activity? Enter a few of your stats into this calculator to find out.

  • Ideal Body Weight

    Ideal Body WeightLearn more

    Using body mass index as a reference, this calculator determines your ideal body weight range. All you need to do is enter your height.

  • Body Mass Index

    Body Mass IndexLearn more

    This tool considers your height and weight to assess your weight status.

  • Can we help answer your questions?

    Wellmont Nurse Connection is your resource for valuable health information any time, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Speak to a Nurse any time, day or night, at (423) 723-6877 or toll-free at 1-877-230-NURSE.