According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention by June 2008, there were 17 of the outbreak-related hospitalization out of 1276 cases in United States were caused by Shiga toxin--producing Escherichia coli. E coli O157: H7 also causes six multistate outbreak in which those outbreaks occurred in more than one state. (L. Hannah Gould, 2011) In another words, there are estimated 110000 infections, 3300 hospitalizations and 91 deaths in United States caused by E coli O157:H7 each year. (Kate Cummings, 2009) Besides, reports of infection cases that are received by The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) are almost 2067 from 2001-2008. In these seven years, they also received reports of 22 confirmed and 2 suspected of foodborne outbreak related to E coli O157:H7 in California. (Kate Cummings, 2009) In history, the first outbreak was identified in White City, Oregon, December 1981. Hemorrhagic colitis caused by E.coli O157 had led to outbreak of food poisoning which kidney failure and death were the worst case. In 1993, Washington, there was another disease named Hamburger Disease in which the toxin E.coli O157 was found in undercooked beef and caused 4 death cases of children while hundreds are ill at that time. It was then followed by apple juice outbreak in 1996 which hemorrhagic colitis are caused by toxin E coli O157 in apple juice. In July 1996, infected lettuce from California has caused an lettuce outbreak whereby hemorrhagic colitis has caught by people in Midwest and Northeast. In the same month, outbreak of hemorrhagic colitis had happened in Japan, killing 7 people and thousands fell ill. It is the worst and most serious outbreak in recent history. (Adams, n.d.)
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The most common symptoms after one get infected with E.coli O157:H7 are severe watery diarrhea which will become bloody within 3 days. This diarrhea can usually lasts 1 to 8 days. (Thomas G. Boyce, 2012) Besides, symptoms such as abdominal pain and vomitting may also occur. (Ingrid Koo, 2009) A mild fever maybe present or sometimes absent in some people. Those symptoms are usually appear 2-5 days after exposure to the E.coli O147:H7 and it might be vary from person to person. (SafeFood, n.d.) There are 2%-7% of people that get hemorrhagic colitis may develop into more serious complication such as hemolytic uretic syndrome (HUS). HUS can involve anaemia, thrombocytopenia, kidney failure and brain damage such as stroke. It usually develop in second week after the infection and is characterized by increasing fever. It is more common in children below 5 years old and elderly people. However, hemorrhagic colitis can cause death in people even without HUS and its complications. (Thomas G. Boyce, 2012)
Generally, there are three ways for E coli O157:H7 infection to be transmitted to human. The main and common source of transmission will be through foodborne especially in meat. (Keith R. Schneider, 2003)E.coli O157:H7 is able to access into the meat or specifically undercooked and contaminated ground beef. (WebMD, 2010)People get infected when they consume those raw and undercooked meat products. Other food that contact with the feaces of cattles that are infected can also contaminated and cause E coli infection to humans. Those food include lettuce, sprouts, unpasteurized milk, unpasteurized fruit juice, raw fruits and vegetables. (WebMD, 2010) Other than that, waterborne transmission is also one of the method of transmission. (WHO, 2011) There is always the possibility that feaces of human and animals that are infected get into the lakes, ponds and water supplies. People get infection when they drink the water that has not been treated with chlorine and contaminated by farm animals. (WebMD, 2010) Besides, people can also get infected when they accidentally swallow the pool water while swimming. (CDC, 2012) The last and the important mode of transmission will be through contact from person to person, usually by direct physical contact. (Keith R. Schneider, 2003) E.coli can spread from an infected personâ€™s hands to other people. People always get infected when they eat the food prepared by people who do not wash hand after using toilet. (CDC, 2012)This method of transmission is usually happens in families or childcare centre.
A doctor will first suspect a patient get hemorrhagic colitis when he reports that he have bloody diarrhea. A stool test is performed to detect the toxin produced by E.coli. (Thomas G. Boyce, 2012) After a patient is identified to have hemorrhagic colitis, treatment will begins. Usually, people who are infected will get better and recover themselves within a week. They often do not see the doctor and do not know that E.coli is the cause of their illness. (WebMD, 2010). The main and important aspect of treatment is drink enough of water to prevent from dehydration. (Thomas G. Boyce, 2012)Dehydration is the result from diarrhea which cause patient to lost a lot of body fluid. It is dangerous for baby and the elderly. Therefore, it is necessary to restore the body fluid by drinking a lot of water. (WebMD, 2010) Antibiotic will not be given and it is not encourage to be given to patient as it will increase the risk of hemolytic uremic syndrome(HUS). Besides, there is evidence that shows antibiotic will slow down the digestion and allow poison caused by E.coli to be absorbed into the body. (WebMD, 2010)E.coli infection will also cause blood and kidneys problems. Those patients will need treatment such as blood transfusion and dialysis. (WebMD, 2010)
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Prevention is always better than treatment. Although it is hard to detect and find out whether the food or water we consumed have been contaminated or not, we can still do something that can protect us from the infection. First and foremost, we can start from our personal hygiene. Always wash hands after using the toilet or changing the diapers. People who have diarrhea should also keep that in mind to reduce the risk of spreading. After having contact with farm animals especially cattle, always wash hand immediately. Food should also prepared only after the hands has washed. (WebMD, 2010) Next, we should cook our food at appropriate temperature before eat. Ground beef and hamburger should be thoroughly cooked so that the bacteria inside can be killed. Always avoid raw meat, fruit and vegetables. Besides, choose and consume only pasteurized milk, dairy and fruit juice products. (CDC, 2012). . Since the infection can also be transmitted through waterborne, it is important that we only drink the water which has been properly treated with chlorine. We should also avoid swallowing pool water while swimming. Other than that, children who get infected should be isolated and quarantined in home. Avoid sending them to the childcare centre which will increase the chance of spreading. (WebMD, 2010) If there is any symptoms of hemorrhagic colitis, it is advised to get a healthcare provider or a doctor to prevent develop into more serious complication such as HUS.