Escherichia coli (E. coli) infection is caused by a bacterium. It is the leading cause of bloody diarrhea.
This infection is caused by some types of the E. coli bacteria. Most E. coli infections are caused by:
This condition is more common in children and older adults.
Factors that increase your chance of developing E. coli infection include:
Symptoms of E. coli infection include:
You will be asked about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. Your waste material may be tested. This can be done with a stool culture.
Talk with your doctor about the best plan for you. Treatment options include:
Most people will get better in 5-10 days. They rarely need a specific treatment. Avoid medication that stops diarrhea. Drink plenty of water and fluids. Fluids through an IV line may be needed in cases of severe dehydration.
To help prevent E. coli infection:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
Canadian Food Inspection Agency
Public Health Agency of Canada
E. coli infection. American Academy of Family Physicians Family Doctor website. Available at: http://familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/diseases-conditions/ecoli-infection.html. Updated April 2014. Accessed December 18, 2014.
E. coli (Escherichia coli). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/ecoli. Updated December 1, 2014. Accessed December 18, 2014.
Frequently asked questions about Escherichia coli infection. New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services website. Available at: http://www.nj.gov/health/cd/documents/factsheets/f_ecoli.pdf. Accessed December 18, 2014.
Last reviewed December 2015 by Daus Mahnke, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.