E. coli is a category of bacteria that lives in the intestinal tracts of warm-blooded animals. While most types of E. coli are harmless, some strains can cause infections and food poisoning. E. coli food poisoning is caused when the gastrointestinal tract is infected by strains of the bacteria that produce Shiga toxins (Shiga toxin-producing E. coli, or STEC). The strain of STEC that most commonly causes food poisoning is E. coli O157:H7, which the CDC estimates infects approximately 70,000 people in the United States every year.

E. Coli Symptoms

The most common symptoms of E. coli food poisoning are abdominal cramps, nausea, fatigue, and diarrhea. Low-grade fever and vomiting are also sometimes E. coli symptoms. The infection typically lasts between five and seven days, and most people recover fully. However, some patients develop Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS), a condition that can lead to kidney failure or death. It is also possible for E. coli infections to spread to the bloodstream and other parts of the body. E. coli treatment usually consists of rest and replacing lost fluids. Antibiotics are usually not effective in treating E. coli food poisoning and can increase the risk of developing HUS.

E. coli food poisoning is caused by exposure to contaminated foods or drinks. Contaminated foods commonly are undercooked meat products, including beef in particular, and unpasteurized milk. E. coli outbreaks, however, can also occur in produce.

Contact an E. Coli Lawyer

If you or a loved one has suffered from a serious E. coli infection from contaminated food products, you may be entitled to compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, and lost wages. Contact us today for a free and confidential case evaluation from an E. coli lawyer.

Published November 17, 2011 by