E. Coli

Cassidy Hewitt and Dillon Simpson

1. What is the nature of your disease? Is it a virus or a bacterial infection?

E. coli is a bacteria that is everywhere in the environment. E. coli and other kinds of bacteria are found in our intestines and are necessary for us to digest food and remain healthy. E. coli provides many necessary vitamins including Vitamin K and B-complex vitamins. We have billions of E.coli bacteria in our bodies, making things we need, helping digest our food and maintaining our health. Because these bacteria can be found in human and animal intestines, you can find these bacteria in the waste we produce.

2. Would it be considered a prokaryote, eukaryote, or neither? (define the one that it falls under)

E.Coli is an example of a prokaryotic cell which is any cellular organism that has no nuclear membrane, no organelles in the cytoplasm except ribosomes, and has its genetic material in the form of single continuous strands forming coils or loops

3. What are the symptoms and treatments associated with your disease?

Symptoms of the infection begin between one to five days after you have been infected with E. coli. Symptoms can include:

•Abdominal Cramping

•Sudden, severe watery diarrhea that may change to bloody stools


•Loss of appetite/nausea

•Vomiting (rare)



•Bloody urine

•Decreased urine output

•Pale skin



4. How deadly is the disease?

The vast majority of E. coli strains are harmless, or even beneficial for instance, E. coli produces vitamins and maintains a protective space in your gut for other beneficial bacteria. However, some strains of E. coli can cause sickness and severe complications.

If the bacteria enters your urinary tract, they can cause a urinary tract infection in fact, E. coli is behind more than 85 percent of all urinary tract infections, according to a 2012 report in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases. When E. coli finds its way into the lungs, it can cause respiratory illness and, in rare cases, pneumonia. According to the Meningitis Research Foundation, E. coli is the cause of about 20 percent of all cases of meningitis, a potentially deadly infection of the membranes lining an infant’s brain and spinal cord.

5. Is this disease currently a problem across the world? If so where is it most prevalent?

Outbreaks of foodborne E. coli infections are a major issue in the United States, according to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Since 2010, there have been more than a dozen U.S. outbreaks of E. coli infections, according to the CDC. The majority of these epidemics were due to O157, which contaminated various food products, including ground beef, ready-to-eat-salads, and bologna. E. coli O121, O26, and O145 have also caused recent outbreaks. E. coli is also a problem elsewhere in the world. The aforementioned 2011 German outbreak of O104:H4 killed over 50 people, according to the European Food Safety Authority.

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6. Fun facts about the disease.

•E. coli can be easily spread from person to person by the fecal-oral route. This is one of the reasons that washing the hands after toileting or diapering is so important. Unwashed hands spread the bacteria widely throughout the environment.

•Here are some foods that can cause E. coli poisoning: undercooked ground beef (used for hamburgers) vegetables grown in cow manure or washed in contaminated water. fruit juice that isn't pasteurized (pasteurization is a process that uses heat to kill germs)

•There are many types of E. coli, and most of them are harmless. But some can cause bloody diarrhea. Some strains of E. coli bacteria (such as a strain called O157:H7) may also cause severe anemia or kidney failure, which can lead to death. Other strains of E. coli can cause urinary tract infections or other infections.

•The bacteria can fuel the world. Or at least that's the hope. Fuel scientists have been working with E. coli for years to see if it can be engineered to eat up something worthless and spit out energy that we can use. Not only have we been able to achieve that goal, but we now have E. coli that can produce gasoline, diesel and jet fuel.

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