E coli – United States

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October 28, 2021 – Four case of E. coli have been identified and reported in the state of Georgia, United States. There were no deaths reported. All four of the cases are children. Three of the four children are under medical care.

The officials of the source suspects that there is a link to the outbreak of E. coli and attendance to the Georgia National Fair between October 7, 2021 and October 17, 2021. There is still investigation on this source of the E. coli from the event. They encourage those who have been to the event to seek medical attention should they experience symptoms related to an E.col infection.

E.col is a naturally occurring bacteria that live in the digestive system of the human body. An infectious E.coli bacteria can produce shiga-toxin, which is what the officials discovered in this investigation. Shiga-toxin producing E.coli. bacteria can cause symptoms such as stomach cramps, diarrhea, vomiting, and fever. Symptoms appear 3 to 4 days after exposure and can sometimes have an incubation period of 10 days before the appearance of symptoms.

The source mentions that the infectious takes approximately a week to resolve in a health individual. But for young children, elderly adults, and those with existing health complications could be at risk for more sever symptoms if the infection is not treated in a timely manner. Investigation for this case is still underway.

Photo: E coli at 10 000 x magnification.

Some strains of E. coli are harmful. Shigatoxigenic Escherichia coli (STEC) and verotoxigenic E. coli (VTEC) are strains of the bacterium Escherichia coli that produce either Shiga toxin or Shiga-like toxin (verotoxin). Only a minority of the strains cause illness in humans. These are collectively known as enterohemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC).

They are a major cause of foodborne-illness. When infecting humans, they often cause gastroenteritis, enterocolitis, bloody diarrhea, and sometimes cause a severe complication called hemolytic-uremic syndrome.

After eating contaminated food, the first symptoms of infection can emerge anywhere from 1 to 10 days later, but usually after 3 to 4 days. These early symptoms can include diarrhea (which is often bloody), stomach cramps, mild fever, or vomiting that results in dehydration and reduced urine. Hemolytic uremic syndrome typically develops about 5 to 10 days after the first symptoms, but can take up to 3 weeks to manifest, and occurs at a time when the diarrhea is improving.

The country with the highest incidence of hemolytic-uremic syndrome is Argentina. But it can occur in frequently large outbreaks in any country.

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