E. coli infection probably is not
diagnosed or reported nearly as often as it occurs. Health officials in the
United States estimate that the E. coli strain O157:H7
causes 73,000 infections and 61 deaths nationally each year.1 Currently, most states require that all cases of severe
bloody diarrhea (hemorrhagic colitis) be reported to their health departments
to help identify outbreaks.
It is not known how common the infection is in
other countries. Outbreaks in Canada, Japan, the United Kingdom, and other
European countries suggest that E. coli O157:H7
infection is a worldwide problem.
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...