E.Coli | E.Coli outbreak UK

It has been reported that there is an ongoing E.Coli outbreak that has affected at least 200 people so far and the figure is expected to rise. A range of sandwiches, wraps and salads have been recalled from a number of major supermarkets due to serious concerns of E.coli.

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What is E.Coli?

Escherichia coli, commonly known as E. coli, is a type of bacteria that is found in the environment, foods, and intestines of people and animals. Most strains of E. coli are harmless and are an essential part of a healthy intestinal tract. However, some strains can cause illness, such as those responsible for food poisoning and other infections. The bacteria are typically spread through contaminated water or food, especially undercooked ground beef, raw vegetables, and unpasteurized dairy products. They can also be transmitted through contact with animals or people who are infected.

Treatment for E. coli infection depends on the type and severity of the symptoms. In many cases, the infection resolves on its own, but severe cases may require hospitalization and supportive care, such as intravenous fluids and, in some cases, antibiotics.

Why is this important?

The present strain of E. Coli is known as the STEC strain, standing for Shiga-Toxin producing E. Coli. This strain is particularly hazardous as it can lead to Haemolytic Uraemic Syndrome (HUS) in vulnerable individuals. HUS is a severe condition that can result in kidney failure and potentially be life-threatening.

Where has the latest strain been found?

Public Health England are actively investigating the E.Coli outbreak, but a link has been noted with certain sandwiches/wraps recalled from stores nationwide.

What are the symptoms of E.Coli?

People infected with STEC can have a combination of these symptoms

  • Diarrhoea (about 50% of cases have bloody diarrhoea)
  • Stomach cramps
  • Fever

Some people may have mild diarrhoea, or even no symptoms at all (termed asymptomatic carriage). Symptoms can last up to 2 weeks in cases without complications. Complications include HUS, and a small proportion of patients may develop Thrombotic Thrombocytopaenic Purpura (TTP).

What can we offer in clinic?

If you are presenting with these symptoms, then we can help to investigate. We can talk through your symptoms and what you have eaten recently and if necessary provide a stool sample test. There is a 2-3 day turnaround for results. If you have a positive result, PHE will be informed.

How much does the appointment cost?

If we require a stool sample this will be £91 plus the cost of a 15-minute appointment at your chosen clinic.

Preventing E.Coli

Preventing E. coli infection involves practicing good hygiene, such as washing hands thoroughly, cooking meat to safe temperatures, avoiding raw milk and unpasteurized products, and ensuring that fruits and vegetables are washed properly. Public health measures also play a critical role in monitoring and controlling outbreaks to protect public health.

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