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E. coli

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Symptoms

Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) can cause the following symptoms:

  • Nausea
  • Severe abdominal cramps
  • Watery or very bloody diarrhea
  • Fatigue

STEC can also cause low-grade fever or vomiting. Symptoms usually begin from 2 to 5 days after eating contaminated food or drinking contaminated liquids. Symptoms may last for 8 days, and most people recover completely from the disease.

Diagnosis

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends testing anyone who suddenly develops diarrhea with symptoms of bloody stool. Healthcare providers use lab tests to identify Shiga toxin-producing E. coli in stool samples.

Treatment

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, early supportive treatment is important for people with E. coli infection, especially those who have Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC).

There is no evidence that treatment with antibiotics is helpful, and taking antibiotics may increase the risk of hemolytic uremic syndrome, a serious complication of STEC that can lead to kidney failure.​

Last Updated November 16, 2011