E.coli Gastrointestinal Infection
What is Escherichia coli (E.coli)
Escherichia coli, most commonly called E.coli, refers to rod-shaped bacteria commonly found in the large intestines of humans and animals. Although most strains of E.coli do not cause serious illness, some strains can make people sick, causing severe stomach cramps, diarrhea, and vomiting.
In Canada, about 440 cases of intestinal E.coli infection are reported per year, costing Canadians $440 million in lost productivity and health care.
How can I prevent Escherichia coli (E.coli)?
- Hand washing is one of the best ways to prevent the spread of foodborne infections
- Use warm soapy water to clean knives, cutting boards, utensils, hands and any surfaces that may have come in contact with food – especially raw meats and fish • Store raw meats in sealable containers on the lower shelf of the refrigerator to help prevent raw juices from contaminating other foods
- Keep raw meats away from other food when shopping
- Wash fresh fruits and vegetables with a dish brush before eating, but do not use soap or detergents • Read labels for proper cooking and storage instructions
- Always check “best before” dates and discard any foods that have expired
- Refrigerate or freeze perishable food within two hours of cooking • Freeze or eat leftovers within four days of cooking and be sure to reheat leftovers until steaming hot.
- Keep your refrigerator clean and at a temperature below 4 °C
- Keep cold foods at or below 4 °C
- Keep hot foods hot; at or above 60 °C
How do I prevent Traveler’s Diarrhea?
- Discuss prevention and treatment options of traveler’s diarrhea with your healthcare provider 6 weeks before your departure
- Consider medication or an oral vaccine to protect yourself against travelers’ diarrhea prior to departure
- Wash your hands with soap under warm running water for at least 20 seconds before eating, after using the bathroom or interacting with animals
- Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available
- Avoid high-risk foods and beverages like undercooked meat or fish, fresh salads, raw vegetables, unpeeled fruits, cold sauces, unpasteurized dairy products and untreated water and ice cubes
- Avoid brushing your teeth with tap water – pour bottled water on your toothbrush