E.coli Risk From Poor Toilet Hygiene, More So Than Uncooked Food

 In Blog

What is E.coli?

E.coli also known as escherichia coli, is bacteria which lives in the human intestines and gut of animals. The majority of this bacteria is harmless, however, sometimes different strains of it can cause diarrhoea when consumed in contaminated food or drink.

What Happens When E.coli is Ingested?

E.coli is also strongly associated with the causes of food poisoning, however, pneumonia and urinary tract infections can also be the result of E.coli. However, only 75% to 95% of urinary tract infections are caused by E.coli.

There is one strain of E.coli that can cause life-threatening symptoms such as bleeding, seizures and kidney failure in adults and children.

How Can You Become Infected?

The ways in which you can become infected is by consuming the bacteria in items such as:

  • Uncooked ground meat
  • Untreated milk
  • Foods such as yoghurt and cheese that’s made from raw milk
  • Fruit and vegetables that have been treated with a water supply that has been mixed with manure from animals nearby

However, additionally, to these sources, E.coli is also found in human faeces and is said to play a larger risk of spreading through poor toilet hygiene.

The Study

Researchers at the University of East Anglia studied a strain of E.coli which produces an enzyme, Extended-Spectrum Beta-Lactamase (ESBL) making it resistant to antibiotics.

Looking at the genomes of ESBL-producing E.coli from the following variables:

  • Human bloodstream infections
  • Human faeces
  • Human sewerage
  • Beef
  • Pork
  • Chicken

The findings were that the human samples differed to the strains present in animals when looking at the ESBL-E.coli that was extracted. This means that there was “little crossover” of ESBL-E.coli from animals to humans and that the bugs are “spread through poor toilet hygiene, not undercooked chicken or food”.

According to the study’s main author, Professor Livermore, E.coli causes over 40,000 cases of blood poisoning each year making it the most common cause.

What Shall We Do?

This being said, in order to prevent the spreading of harmful E.coli strains, we need to focus on infection control as well as thorough hand washing. When using the gym, toilet, kitchen or any public space, we should be washing our hands and using hand sanitiser to limit the risk of becoming infected. Further, make sure that communication in healthcare is effective.

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