Q:

What symptoms result from coliform bacteria ingestion?

A:

Quick Answer

The symptoms of E. coli infection depend on the particular strain but potentially include mild to severe diarrhea, abdominal cramping and blood in the stool. However, coliforms are a broad class of bacteria that are common throughout the environment and generally present no risk of illness. E. coli is only part of this class, and most strains of E. coli are harmless, notes the Vermont Department of Health.

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Full Answer

Symptoms of E. coli infections usually occur three to four days after ingesting the bacteria, explains the Vermont Department of Health. Symptoms are often unnoticeable or mild. Antibiotics are not an effective treatment, and health professionals recommend against using antidiarrheal medications.

Coliform bacteria exists in soil, water and the digestive tracts of warm-blooded animals, including humans, reports the Vermont Department of Health. Coliforms, including E. coli, sometimes make it into the water supply due to flooding or snowmelt washing fecal matter into wells, lakes, streams or reservoirs. The bacteria can also spread from an animal's digestive tract into meat during slaughter.

Ground meats and undercooked meats are more likely to spread E. coli than other types, notes the Vermont Department of Health. Infection also sometimes results from drinking contaminated water, eating unwashed fruits and vegetables, and contact with an infected person.

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