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Portland E. Coli Lawyer

An E. coli infection is an illness caused by certain strains of the Escherichia coli (E. coli) bacteria. While most E. coli strains are harmless and part of the normal flora of the intestines, some can cause serious illness.

Characteristics of E. coli

Escherichia coli (E. coli) is a diverse group of bacteria with various characteristics, depending on the specific strain.

  • E. coli are Gram-negative, rod-shaped bacteria.
  • They are naturally present in the gut flora of warm-blooded organisms.
  • E. coli can survive outside the body for limited periods, which allows it to be transmitted through contaminated water, food, and surfaces.

Pathogenic vs. Non-Pathogenic Strains

Non-pathogenic strains are part of the normal flora of the intestines and play a role in maintaining gut health and aiding digestion.

Certain strains can cause illness, including:

  • Enterotoxigenic E. coli (ETEC): Causes traveler’s diarrhea through the production of enterotoxins.
  • Enteropathogenic E. coli (EPEC): Causes diarrhea, especially in infants, by attaching to the intestinal lining and disrupting its function.
  • Enterohemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC): Includes strains like E. coli O157, which produce Shiga toxin and can cause severe bloody diarrhea and Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS).
  • Enteroinvasive E. coli (EIEC): Invades intestinal cells, causing inflammatory diarrhea.
  • Enteroaggregative E. coli (EAEC): Causes persistent diarrhea by forming biofilms on the intestinal mucosa.

Symptoms of E. coli Poisoning

E. coli poisoning, often called an E. coli infection, can range from mild to severe. The symptoms depend on the strain of E. coli and the individual’s overall health.

Some common symptoms include:

  • Watery Diarrhea: Common with many E. coli strains.
  • Bloody Diarrhea: Particularly associated with enterohemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC) such as E. coli O157.
  • Abdominal Pain and Cramps: Severe stomach cramps and abdominal pain are common.
  • Nausea and Vomiting: Many individuals experience nausea and sometimes vomiting.
  • Gas and Bloating: Gastrointestinal discomfort, including gas and bloating.
  • Loss of Appetite: Reduced desire to eat due to gastrointestinal distress.

How to Prevent E. coli Through Proper Food Handling

Correct food handling is one main way to prevent E. coli infections from spreading. Some ways you can do that include:

Thorough Cooking of Meat

Undercooked meat is a big culprit for E. coli.

  • Ground Beef: Cook ground beef to an internal temperature of at least 160°F (71°C). Use a food thermometer to ensure accuracy.
  • Steaks and Roasts: Cook to a minimum internal temperature of 145°F (63°C) and let it rest for three minutes before carving or consuming.
  • Poultry: Cook to an internal temperature of at least 165°F (74°C).

Avoiding Raw Milk

Raw milk is another place where E. coli can spread.

  • Consumption of Pasteurized Dairy Products: Only consume milk, cheese, and other dairy products that have been pasteurized. Raw milk can harbor E. coli and other harmful bacteria.
  • Label Checking: Ensure that dairy products are labeled as pasteurized.

Washing Fruits and Vegetables

Even fruit and vegetables can harbor E. coli bacteria.

  • Rinsing: Rinse fresh fruits and vegetables under running water before eating, cutting, or cooking, even if you plan to peel them.
  • Scrubbing: Use a clean vegetable brush to scrub firm produce such as cucumbers and melons.
  • Proper Storage: Store fresh produce in the refrigerator to slow down the growth of bacteria.

Avoiding Cross-Contamination

Cross-contamination between raw and cooked foods can also cause E. coli infections.

  • Separate Raw and Cooked Foods: Use separate cutting boards and utensils for raw meat and ready-to-eat foods.
  • Sanitizing Surfaces: Clean and sanitize cutting boards, countertops, and utensils after handling raw meat.

Portland E. coli Statistics

Between 2013 and 2022, there were 405 E. coli cases in Multnomah County, which is an incidence rate per 100,000 people of 5.07. This is lower than the statewide rate for the same time period, which was 5.9.

Between 2003 and 2023, the Oregon E. coli incidence rate per 100,000 was consistently higher than the average overall U.S. rate. In 2023, Oregon’s incidence rate was 6.4 compared to the U.S. rate of 4.

In 2021, Oregon was impacted by 2 multistate E. coli outbreaks linked to packaged salads and cake mix.

Reach Out For Help Today

Need assistance with an E. coli case? Contact The Lange Law Firm at (833) 330-3663 or message us online today for a free consultation. Our experienced team will fight for the compensation you deserve.