Escherichia Coli
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Escherichia Coli


Escherichia coli can cause acute severe abdominal cramps and watery diarrhoea that can be bloody within 24 hours (haemorrhagic colitis). There are at least four subgroups of enteropathogenic Escherichia coli: enterotoxigenic, enterinvasive, haemorrhagic and enteropathogenic. Each strain has different characteristics. It is most often due to inadequately cooked beef (especially ground beef) and also raw milk and fruit or vegetables contaminated with ruminant faeces. Transmission also occurs directly from person to person, in families, childcare centres and custodial institutions. 

Incubation period
12 - 72 hours after ingestion.
Signs and Symptoms


  • Diarrhoea
  • Abdominal Cramps
  • No Fever


Stool culture and sensitivity.
Oral rehydration is important. In severe cases in infants antibiotics (prescribed by medical doctors, neomycin, gentamicin, colymycin and in adults doxycycline or trimethoprim) are sometimes used.
Control and Prevention
Educate on:


  • Hand washing,
  • Careful selection of food by persons and institutions.

Travellers are advised to avoid cold meats, leafy vegetables, desserts, fresh cheese, milk and advised to eat hot steaming food and drink bottled water only.

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