Facts and figures about the E. coli bacterium:
E. coli is:
--A form of bacteria that commonly lives in the human body.
--One strain releases a toxin that can cause severe illness.
--The germ is present in uncooked beef, unpasteurized milk and juice, and on raw sprouts and lettuce.
--Severe, often bloody, diarrhea.
--Kidney failure in the young, elderly or people with weak immune systems.
If you have an E. coli infection:
--You don't need to take antibiotics.
--It will probably go away in five to 10 days.
--Young children and the elderly could be hospitalized to treat kidney failure.
Every year in the U.S.:
--Approximately 73,000 people contract E. coli.
--Approximately 61 people die from the infection.
Ways to prevent contracting E. coli:
--Wash all fruits and vegetables thoroughly.
--Cook all ground beef and meat.
--Drink only pasteurized milk and juice.
--Don't swallow water in lakes or public pools.
If you get E. coli, try to avoid infecting others:
--Don't prepare food for others.
--Don't swim in public places.
Source: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention