Within a span of a few days, three suppliers in the UK have recalled 60 types of pre-packed sandwiches, wraps and salads due to E.coli infection. As per BBC, more than 200 people in the UK have been affected by E. coli in recent weeks, as of data up to 11 June and 42% were admitted to hospital.
What is E.coli infection?
E. coli infection is caused by Escherichia coli, a type of bacteria commonly found in the intestines of humans and animals.While most strains of E. coli are harmless and part of a healthy intestinal flora, some strains, such as E. coli, can cause severe foodborne illness.
Infection often occurs through consumption of contaminated food or water, such as undercooked ground beef, raw milk, unpasteurized juice, and fresh produce that has come into contact with contaminated water.
E.coli STEC O145 is driving the infection in the UK
E. coli STEC O145 is a pathogenic strain of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC). It can cause severe foodborne illness, with symptoms including abdominal cramps, diarrhea (often bloody), and vomiting. Unlike the more well-known E. coli O157, STEC O145 is less common but can be equally dangerous. Infection often occurs through contaminated food or water, particularly undercooked meat and unpasteurized products. Severe cases can lead to hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a serious condition causing kidney failure.
Common symptoms
Symptoms typically begin three to four days after exposure and include severe abdominal cramps, diarrhea (often bloody), and vomiting. Fever may be present but is usually mild.

In some cases, particularly among young children and the elderly, E. coli infection can lead to serious complications like hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a condition that causes kidney failure and can be life-threatening.
Diagnosis is confirmed through stool tests, and treatment focuses on supportive care, such as hydration and rest. Antibiotics are generally not recommended as they may increase the risk of complications.
Preventive measures include thoroughly cooking meat, avoiding unpasteurized products, practicing good hand hygiene, and properly washing fruits and vegetables.
E. coli infections highlight the importance of food safety and hygiene practices in preventing the spread of harmful bacteria.

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