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E. Coli Infection From Food or Water

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Children are more likely than adults to develop symptoms of E. coli O157:H7 infection. Most people with the infection will have:

Some people who are infected with the bacteria do not notice any symptoms. They may spread the bacteria to others without knowing it.

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Generally, food poisoning causes some combination of nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea that may or may not be bloody, sometimes with other symptoms. After eating tainted food, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, and vomiting, can start as early as one hour in the case of staph and as late as 10 days in the case of campylobacter. It may take even longer to develop symptoms from parasite infections such as Giardia. Symptoms can last from one day up to a couple of months or longer, depending on the type of...

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There are many conditions with symptoms similar to those of E. coli intestinal infection. Diagnosis of E. coli infection can be complicated by the fact that most bacterial infections that cause diarrhea are accompanied by a high fever. If you have no fever or only a mild fever, your doctor may suspect that something other than bacteria is causing your symptoms.

Bloody diarrhea is common in confirmed cases of E. coli intestinal infection, but the bacteria also should be considered a possible cause of non-bloody diarrhea.

For more information on when to call a doctor about non-bloody diarrhea, see:

Symptoms of E. coli infection usually end in about a week with no further problems. But severe blood and kidney problems may occur within 2 weeks after the onset of diarrhea. These problems can cause kidney failure and sometimes long-term disability or death in some children and older adults.


WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: September 09, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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