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E.coli: Undercooked meat is the main source

Escherichia coli bacteria, which belong to the family Enterobacteriaceae, are part of the normal intestinal flora of warm-blooded animals and particularly of man
Escherichia coli bacteria, which belong to the family Enterobacteriaceae, are part of the normal intestinal flora of warm-blooded animals and particularly of man
 

Escherichia coli bacteria, which belong to the family Enterobacteriaceae, are part of the normal intestinal flora of warm-blooded animals and particularly of man. Most of them are not pathogenic. Of those that are problematic, E. coli producing Shiga-toxin (or STEC) were isolated for the first time in 1982 in the United States.

Over 100 serotypes of STEC have been identified to date. But most epidemics are caused by one of them, the O 157:H7. Described for the first time in 1955, the hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) is a serious complication of gastrointestinal infections.

Ruminants are the main reservoir of E. coli producing Shiga-toxin. Studies on cattle have shown that 20 to 80% of them may be carrying in their intestines without getting sick (healthy carriers). At slaughter, when the animals defecate, the bacterium sticks to their skin. However, during evisceration, it is possible that fecal matter is found in the muscle.

Manufacturers know that it is important to clean the leather. Health checks are held regularly, but an accident in the food chain is always possible. Just one organ containing the bacteria leads to a propagation. A undercooked hamburger can contaminate a child. An adult has a better stomach acid, it may not fall sick even if he eats the same steak.

Consumption of undercooked meat, mainly beef, is the primary mode of transmission of infection with E. coli. Products processed from pork or deer meat may also be involved. Like milk and dairy products, but also cider and unpasteurized apple juice, and raw vegetables (as shown by the epidemic in Germany in recent weeks due to a serotype unpublished).

The literature also reports cases of transmission following the consumption of well water and untreated tap water. In Canada, in 2000, an outbreak of the E.coli has been reported in Ontario, in an area of ​​intensive rearing of cattle. Over 2000 cases were identified, 65 patients were hospitalized and 27 developed HUS. Accidental ingestion of water when swimming in a lake or a pool, was also listed in the 1990's. Finally, the transmission is possible, some have already been observed in communities, nurseries and nursing homes.

Prevention is to cook the meat thoroughly. The raw milk cheese is also not recommended. It is better to prefer the pasteurized cheeses. As with many other infectious diseases, prevention also involves hand hygiene and thorough washing of raw vegetables.

 
 
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