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What are some E. coli symptoms?

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Quick Answer

Symptoms of an E. coli infection include mild-to-severe diarrhea, abdominal cramping and pain and sometimes vomiting, according to Mayo Clinic. Symptoms of E. coli typically present three to four days after exposure to the bacteria. However, in some cases, symptoms can appear in as little as one day or as long as a week after exposure. If diarrhea is severe or bloody, contacting a doctor is important.

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What are some E. coli symptoms?
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Full Answer

E. coli is most commonly transmitted from contaminated food, water and person-to-person contact, according to Mayo Clinic. Unlike many other disease-causing bacteria, E. coli causes an infection even when a very small amount of the bacteria is present. Undercooked ground beef, unpasteurized milk and contaminated produce are the most common food sources of an E. coli infection. Private wells and swimming pools also harbor the bacteria, as can the unwashed hands of infected humans.

Young children, older adults and those people with weakened immune systems are at a higher risk of contracting E. coli, according to Mayo Clinic. In healthy adults, recovery from an E. coli infection typically takes about a week. In people with weakened immune systems, the bacteria can cause a life-threatening form of kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome. To confirm a diagnosis of E. coli, a stool sample is sent to a laboratory for analysis.

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