What is Escherichia coli?

Escherichia coli, also known as poop bacteria, is an intestinal bacterium found in warm-blooded animals and humans. Generally, the bacteria protect against other harmful bacteria, but there are some variants that cause foodborne infections. Poop bacteria are the major causative agent of urinary tract infections. In addition, certain variants of E. coli can cause gastrointestinal problems where in some cases there may be serious additional disease symptoms. Risk groups for the bacteria are pregnant women, young children and people with low resistance.

Contamination of poop bacteria

E. coli bacteria survive in water for several weeks and even months in soil. The optimal temperature for the bacteria is between 10 °C and 40 °C, and at 65 °C the bacteria die. The types of E. coli that cause infections are mainly found on raw meat, raw vegetables and raw milk products:

  • Raw meat – Half-baked or raw hamburgers, raw minced meat, filet american and other meat that is not cooked.
  • Raw vegetables – Lettuce, sprouts such as bean sprouts and bags of stir-fried vegetables.
  • Raw milk – Milk, raw milk cheese such as brie and unheated fruit juice

E. coli bacteria and infections

The risk of becoming infected with E. coli bacteria lies primarily with the ingestion of contaminated water or food. This causes reduced resistance in humans in particular. In addition to fathering urinary tract infections, E. coli causes infections outside the intestine, including bloodstream infections. In severe cases, there is sometimes blood breakdown and reduction in kidney function. This is called Haemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS). To prevent infection with E. coli bacteria, it is important to work hygienically. Cook the meat well, avoid cross-contamination and wash your hands well after touching raw meat.