What is E.Coli? What can you do to protect yourself and others?

What is E.Coli? What can you do to protect yourself and others?


Hello, my name is Winy Messens and I am a scientist working at EFSA in the field of biological hazards. Today I will talk to you about Escherichia coli, or E.coli. E.coli are common bacteria in the gut of humans and warm-blooded animals. In fact, they are part of our normal bacterial flora. Most E. coli strains have beneficial functions. For example they may prevent the establishment of harmful bacteria in our intestine. However, there are pathogenic E. coli. This means that they can cause human illness. Among these pathogenic E.Coli there is one group of E. coli strains that are capable of producing toxins. And this group of strains is known as verocytotoxin producing E. coli or Shiga toxin-producing E. coli, better known as VTEC or STEC. Infections in humans with VTEC leads to mild to bloody diarrhoea. However, also more severe complications can occur, which may potentially even lead to kidney failure. In 2011 9,500 human cases were reported in European Union, of which 56 death cases. 2011, however, was an exceptional year. You may remember many news reports about a large outbreak in Germany, which was caused by fenugreek seeds imported from Egypt. The strain, that caused this outbreak, was a rare strain. People usually get infected by consumption of contaminated food, contaminated water or also may contract the infection by contact with infected animals and close contact with infected humans. Now, in Europe among animals and food-stuffs, VTEC was most commonly found in cattle and also in bovine meat. VTEC was also found on vegetables and fruit and also on dairy products made from raw milk. Now, what’s the role of EFSA in order to protect you from this pathogenic VTEC? EFSA monitors the presence of these bacteria in different foods. Also, EFSA conducts some investigations, like investigation which VTEC strains are pathogenic to humans, which was the source of an outbreak and also investigating the role played by different foods in causing human disease. Now, what can you do in order to protect yourself from these pathogens. It is advised that you refrigerate your foods. It is also advised to wash your hands, and also vegetables, and fruit, and cutting boards, and knives when preparing food. And, at last, cook your meat, in particular minced meat, thoroughly.

36 Replies to “What is E.Coli? What can you do to protect yourself and others?”

  1. In 2010 i got e.coli in the uk (where i'm from) but my mother thought it was a stomach bug, so we went to spain for our holidays and i wound up in Granada hospital for 6 weeks, i had kidney failure. 🙁

  2. I am suffering from e.coli since 1 year …it caused damage to my internal linings of stomach and it pained a lot…someone suggested me to have 2 spoons of pure raw honey in a glass of water in morning and at night…it didnt cured d infection but the pain is vanished now….i suggest all to try this home remedy….really effective…..but the honey must be pure and raw and not d one packed as a brand… 🙂

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