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Escherichia coli - an opportunistic bacteriaThursday 12 June 2008 09:50 CEST
Most of Escherichia coli types are harmless for humans but some of them may cause life dangerous complication like a severely kidney damage function or even sepsis.
Escherichia coli or shorter E. coli belongs to a group of the bacteria that are normally human and animal intestine resident and their task is to help in food digestion. E. coli can live for months in water and ground and very long on different surfaces. But in different sorts of food they multiplies very quickly and cause digestion problems.
We can describe E. coli as an opportunistic bacteria. Although it lives in a healthy micro flora of a human body, only in specific situation - when it arrive from intestine to other organs and tissues - it causes illnesses. The most frequent are urinary tract and sexual organs infections.
Urinary tract infections include all infections localized on any part of urinary system: In kidneys, urethra and bladder. The most frequent urinary system infections are urinary bladder infections caused by E. coli bacteria. Infection is present if test shows big number of bacteria of same sort (100.000 or more in 1 ml of urine) or small number of pathogen bacteria.
Urinary tract infections are more frequent in women because of anatomic close of their digestion and sex urinary tract. Women have shorter ureter and bacteria don't need to travel too far do enter the bladder. Bacteria that came to bladder usually go away while you urinate but if they stay in bladder they multiplies very quickly causing infections. Urinary infection problems encompass all ages starting with new born babies while in men it is rare condition because of their loner urinary tract.
There are few factors that may lead to infections: Obstruction of normal urinary flow (renal calculi and kidney stones), anatomic or functional changed urinary tract, partial bladder flushing, foreign objects (urinary catheter), diabetes, different kidney damages, pregnancy, tumor, enlarged prostate...
New born babies and small kids may not have any signs of sickness but they can have higher temperature. Signs of urinary infections are pain or burning during urination, blur urine, blood in urine and changed and not pleasant smell of urine.
E. coli often cause gallbladder and biliary duct infections. It can cause caeceum and peritoneum infections and skin manure and wounds. Sepsis is the most dangerous situation which E. coli bacteria may cause penetrating into blood from the place of the primary localization.
While previously group of diseases appears in cases when E. coli ends up on the wrong place, some forms of bacteria may cause intestine infections and diarrhea as the after effect. That usually happens to people who drink dirty water, eat unwashed food or if they don't wash their hands after the toilette. The main symptoms are convulsion in the stomach, diarrhea with vomiting, quickly dehydration usually without higher temperature but it may be present, watery stool (green-yellow coloured, unpleasant smell, sometimes mucusious and bloody). You may also may "earn" the bacteria if you eat meat that is not thermal processed enough (if it's bloody inside).
To prevent E. coli infections wash your hands every time after the toilette, wash hands before you start cooking, cook and bake meat long enough, don't taste the meat before it is finished, wash carefully all dishes that was in the contact with the raw meat, keep raw meat separately from other food, don't drink milk that is not pasteurised.
To prevent urinary tract infections keep the hygiene of intimate body parts using mild pH neutral soap, don't delay urinating and adopt the habit to urinate after sexual intercourse, avoid tight underpants and trousers.
Chronical bacterial prostatitis in men is the main cause of recidivism of urinary infections. To avoid the problems don't sit on cold surfaces, don't eat spiced food, alcohol and aerated drinks, and avoid driving a bicycle.