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An infectious disease can be defined as any type of epidemic caused by any environmental or biological pathogens. Some of which can include parasites, viruses, or bacteria. These pathogens can be spread through various types of contact, whether it be person-to-person, or other sources. The topic being presented today is the Escherichia Coli bacterium. By analyzing this virus, many types of useful information can be taken away from the following headings: disease history; responsible pathogens; causes of transmission; signs and symptoms; treatment and prognosis; and medical or personal precautions.
Escherichia Coli, commonly known as the E. Coli bacteria, is commonly found in the lower intestines of numerous warm-blooded organisms. Most E. Coli strains are quite harmless and are needed in order to have a healthy intestinal tract. The bacteria was first discovered in the late eighteenth century by Dr. Theodor Escherich, a German Bacteriologist. He displayed that certain strains of the virus were responsible for many intestinal illnesses connected to infant and others with weakened immune systems. Originally known as the Bacterium Coli, the disease’s name was later changed to honor its discoverer. Primary sources include any undercooked or raw meat products, fecal contamination of produce caused by other organisms, or even raw dairy products. The E. Coli bacteria can infect anyone at any time, although, infants, older adults, or anyone with a weak immune system have higher risks of contacting this infection. If left untreated over a certain period of time, kidney failure, bloody diarrhea, or even death can occur. One major complication is Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (H.U.S). When the infection is left untreated, pathogen can begin to produce toxins that destroy erythrocytes, causing major injury to the kidneys and urinary tract. One important factor to understand is that the E. Coli bacteria is not always linked to negative illnesses.
Stated above, most E. Coli bacterium are normally harmless and are the foundation of a healthy intestinal tract. On the other hand, other strains of the virus are pathogenic, meaning that illness may occur both inside and outside of the intestinal wall. Pathogenic strains of E. Coli and put into different categories called pathotypes. There are six different types and are all together referred to as Diarrheagenic E. Coli bacteria. These six types include: Shiga Toxin-producing E. Coli (S.T.E.C); Enteropathogenic E. Coli (E.P.E.C); Enterotoxigenic E. Coli (E.T.E.C); Enteroaggregative E. Coli (E.A.E.C); Enteroinvasive E. Coli (E.I.E.C); and Diffusely Adherents E. Coli (D.A.E.C). These categories all pose a threat on their own accord, and there can be many different modes of transmission from source-to-source.
Physical contact can be a vital mode of transmission in order for the bacteria to make its way through various outside sources. The Shiga Toxin-producing E. Coli can end up living inside the gastrointestinal tracts of many mammals such as goats, birds, and sheep. Although, cattle is the major source of human illness. Visiting farms or other places where public contact is made with livestock is a huge risk factor, as well as coming into direct contact with other people or surfaces that have been previously exposed. E. Coli can also become stored in different bodies of water, wells, or water troughs. These waterborne source viruses can get into both drinking water, and water used in recreational activities such as swimming. Contracting any form of the E. Coli bacteria can cause many types of signs and symptoms, which are very crucial to understand.
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