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Fort Worth E. Coli Attorney

E. coli (Escherichia coli) is a type of bacterium commonly present in the intestines of humans and animals. Most E. coli strains are harmless and beneficial for digestion. However, certain strains, like E. coli O157:H7, can cause severe foodborne illnesses. These pathogenic strains can lead to symptoms such as abdominal pain, diarrhea, and vomiting. Infection often occurs through the ingestion of contaminated food or water, highlighting the need for proper food handling and hygiene to prevent outbreaks.

E. coli Strains

Several strains of E. coli (Escherichia coli) can cause illness in humans. These pathogenic strains are generally grouped into six main categories based on their virulence properties and mechanisms of pathogenesis:

  • Enterohemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC): This group includes the well-known strain E. coli O157:H7, which can cause severe foodborne illness. EHEC strains produce Shiga toxins, which can lead to hemorrhagic colitis and hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a serious condition that can cause kidney failure.
  • Enterotoxigenic E. coli (ETEC): ETEC strains produce toxins (heat-labile and heat-stable enterotoxins) that stimulate the lining of the intestines, leading to watery diarrhea. ETEC is a common cause of traveler’s diarrhea and can also affect children in developing countries.
  • Enteropathogenic E. coli (EPEC): EPEC strains adhere to the intestinal lining and cause diarrhea, primarily in infants and young children. This group disrupts the normal function of the intestinal cells, leading to watery diarrhea.
  • Enteroinvasive E. coli (EIEC): EIEC strains invade and destroy the epithelial cells of the colon, causing a syndrome that is similar to dysentery. Symptoms include fever, cramps, and blood and mucus in the stool.
  • Enteroaggregative E. coli (EAEC): EAEC strains adhere to the intestinal mucosa in a stacked-brick pattern and produce enterotoxins and cytotoxins. They can cause persistent diarrhea, particularly in children and immunocompromised individuals.
  • Diffusely Adherent E. coli (DAEC): DAEC strains are less well-defined but are associated with diarrhea, especially in children. They adhere diffusely to the intestinal epithelial cells.

Each of these pathogenic strains of E. coli can cause varying degrees of illness, from mild to severe, and they are typically spread through contaminated food, water, or contact with infected animals or people.

Symptoms of E. coli

Key symptoms that point to E. coli poisoning include severe abdominal cramps and pain, persistent diarrhea that often becomes bloody, and nausea and vomiting. These symptoms can lead to dehydration, which presents with signs like dry mouth, decreased urination, and dizziness. The presence of these symptoms, especially bloody diarrhea, suggests E. coli infection and should be evaluated by a healthcare provider.

Prevention Tips

To prevent the spread of E. coli, always follow the below recommendations:

  • Wash Hands Regularly: Always wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after using the bathroom, changing diapers, and before preparing or eating food.
  • Clean Under Nails: Scrub under your fingernails where bacteria can hide.
  • Avoid Touching Your Face: Minimize touching your mouth, nose, and eyes to reduce the risk of transferring bacteria.
  • Cook Meat Thoroughly: Ensure all meat, particularly ground beef, is cooked to a safe internal temperature of at least 160°F (70°C).
  • Avoid Raw Milk and Unpasteurized Products: Consume only pasteurized milk, dairy products, and juices.
  • Wash Fruits and Vegetables: Rinse all produce under running water before eating, cutting, or cooking, even if you plan to peel them.
  • Separate Raw and Cooked Foods: Use separate cutting boards and utensils for raw meat and ready-to-eat foods to avoid cross-contamination.
  • Sanitize Surfaces: Frequently clean and disinfect kitchen countertops, cutting boards, and utensils using hot, soapy water, particularly after they come into contact with raw meat, poultry, or seafood.
  • Refrigerate Promptly: Store perishable foods in the refrigerator at or below 40°F (4°C) without delay, and ensure that cooked foods are not left out at room temperature for more than two hours (or one hour if the temperature exceeds 90°F or 32°C).
  • Drink Safe Water: Ensure your drinking water is safe. If unsure, use bottled water or boil water before drinking.

E. coli Facts in Fort Worth

In 2014, E. coli was the eighth most prevalent infection among 0-14-year-olds in Tarrant County, with an incidence rate of 5.9 per 100,000 people. However, by 2017, it had moved up to fifth on the list, with an incidence rate of 12.9.

In 2019, the number of reported E. coli cases in Texas was 1,324, compared to only 351 reported in 2010. Significant outbreaks in Texas have been linked to raw cheddar cheese,

leafy greensclover sprouts, and romaine lettuce.

Call Us Today

E. coli concerns? Reach out to The Lange Law Firm at (833) 330-3663 or message us online to arrange your free consultation. We will investigate the source of the contamination, hold the responsible parties accountable, and pursue maximum compensation for your injuries and losses.