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E. Coli Superbug: Best Way To Stop It From Spreading

Medical Daily logo Medical Daily 10/24/2019 Jan Cortes

E. coli is a strain of antibiotic-resistant bacteria that can be very harmful under some circumstances, and according to new research, failing to wash your hands after going to the toilet can be the cause of its spread more than eating undercooked food or meat ever will.

Humans and animals actually carry some strains in their gut that are usually harmless. When it becomes dangerous, however, it can easily cause food poisoning (believed to be caused by consuming food and meat that is undercooked or isn’t prepared properly), and is easily the most dangerous that leads to infections in the bloodstream.

However, it has evolved to become resistant to any type of antibiotic during the last 20 years. So how can we stop it from spreading?

Well, by simply washing our hands thoroughly after going to the bathroom. This is because new research has found that the likeliest route of transmission for ESBL-E. coli is directly from human to human, via “faecal particles from one person reaching the mouth of another.”

This is different from previous researches, which stated that the virus is commonly spread by eating undercooked food or meat.

"Infections caused by ESBL-E. coli bacteria are difficult to treat. And they are becoming more common in both the community and hospitals," David Livermore of the University of East Anglia's Norwich Medical School said. According to him, the mortality rate for people who have these superbug strains are much higher than those who have strains that are susceptible to the treatment, even double the amount. Furthermore, he also clarified that E. coli is still the most common cause of food poisoning, with cases reaching as much as 40,000 per year in England alone.

Additionally, he also stated that “the great majority of strains of ESBL-E. coli causing human infections aren't coming from eating chicken, or anything else in the food chain,” but mainly come from not washing hands after going to the toilet.

Nevertheless, food should still be properly cleaned and prepared. Lastly, inappropriate prescriptions should be avoided if we are to make sure they don’t become resistant to more antibiotics in the future.


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