Escherichia coli (E. coli) is a large group/family of bacteria that sounds worse than it usually is in most cases. Most strains of this bacteria, which is found in the intestines of humans and other animals, are entirely harmless and even helpful - they keep the intestines in optimal health. When the bacteria isn't making itself useful, symptoms of E. coli poisoning include diarrhea, difficulty breathing, and pneumonia. Scientists also believe most urinary tract infections are caused by specific E. coli strains.
Upon entering the body, some E. Coli strains begin producing Shiga toxin-producing E. coli or STEC. This issue is what likely gives the bacteria its scary persona. Of all the strains of E. coli, Shiga toxin-producing E. coli is the only one that can prove deadly on its own. The bacteria can cause moderate symptoms such as bloody diarrhea, vomiting, and cramps, as well as fatigue, nausea, and confusion. In more severe cases, specifically in children and seniors, this kind of E. coli can cause seizures and kidney failure.
E. coli is largely preventable if you take it seriously enough. Nearly all the ways in which the bacteria is passed from food to human or human to human can be avoided. This kind of E. coli can lurk in uncooked or undercooked ground meat, and can potentially contaminate leafy greens and dairy products, leading to large-scale recalls.
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