What does e.coli mean to you?

I think this is the most **spoiled **thread ever.

Un-spoilered because it’s wrong, or perhaps just incomplete information. There is no significant e. coli in raw meat.

The e. coli danger with eating raw meat is due to contamination during the butchering process where the outside of the meat gets exposed to fecal matter, or matter from the digestive tract. That is where the e. coli lives, in the guts.

You can sear a steak and leave it raw inside and not worry about e. coli. The problem is usually with ground meat which is topographically all ‘outside/inside’ and needs to be cooked thoroughly. The contamination is on the outside of the meat, grinding blends the outside and inside together and it all becomes potentially contaminated.

What e. coli means to me? Poop, that’s what. And that is how vegetables get contaminated too. By busy, hard working harvesters who poop in the fields under unsanitary conditions or by poop based fertilizers that are sprayed on crops.

Thanks for the correction Dallas Jones but this thread is more for just figuring out what people associate with e. coli, not the actual pathology or pathogenesis associated with the bug.

Sorry, carry on. :wink:


Microbiology Professor

Main route of infection is fecal contamination- either your own E. coli ending up in an area it doesn’t belong (UTI, eg) or through food or water contamination. However, my FIRST though about E. coli is taht it is one of our beneficial bacteria that belongs in our body, in the right locale.

Fecal oral route. Former medical laboratory technologist.

Eat shit and die.

Damn you I wanted to say that for What does e.coli mean to you?
Never hold back!

One quarter of the mass of shit is solids and one third of the mass of solids in shit is bacteria. Ewww! Mind bleach!

I just can’t resist.

It doesn’t mean shit to me.

Sorry. Hadda do it.

Well, shit. I mean, …

Anyway, his was a LOT better. Good one, Elf.

When I think of E. coli I think of gastroenteritis, HUS, UTIs, and meningitis, in that order.

*< haven’t read thread> *

Well, I’d say "human or nonhuman? first. My guess (I’m not an expert) would be that gut wounds followed by bites are the most common for human-human or self-self infections. And contaminated meat for animal-human.

<reads thread>

Duh! Didn’t think of fecal-oral for some reason.

Just reading the OP:

The main way that people get infected by e. coli (which is intestinal bacterial IIRC), is from unwashed produce. The produce is probably contaminated by irrigation water.

Am I right? Do I win something?

Get used to a high fiber diet my friend, otherwise you will never fully recover.

I’m the friend whose debate with Gestalt led to the creation of this thread… Since many of you gave multiple ways to become infected, I’d like to ask you all something more specific. Please don’t read my spoiler if you have yet to give your own untainted (haha) answer.

If a random person told you that their friend had e. coli poisoning, how many of you would immediately think that beef may have something to do with it? The original debate was over the extent to which people associate e. coli with beef…

Also, since we were really discussing what the “general public” thinks of first when they hear e. coli, what are your impressions on that? (I don’t consider the Dope to be a good cross-section of the general public, which is a good thing.)

I will give my answer before looking at any of the others. I worked with E. coli in a lab 57 years ago.

[spoiler] There are two aspects. First the ordinary strain is major inhabitant of your gut and I recently read somewhere that 25% of your feces consists of E. coli. However, if for some reason, E. coli gets into your urinary tract, then you have a painful and difficult to cure urinary tract infection. Still, it can be cured so long as the strain is not antibiotic resistant. It was considered so benign that we used to pipette it with a naked pipette. Even if you swallowed it, it was harmless.

Then there are the more recently evolved virulent strains. They are bad news. They evolved because of intensive and uncleanly pig raising techniques, including the indiscriminate use of antibiotics so they tend to be resistant. Bad news.

One other aspect. Food is tested for coliform bacteria not because E. coli is dangerous in itself but it is an indicator of poor food handling.[/spoiler]

In order, my imaginings on how it would happen would be:
#1. s/he ate a burger that came from a slaughter house whose unhygienic practices allow meat to become contaminated with animal feces
#2. s/he came in contact with residue from some douche bag who doesn’t bother to wash their hands after defecating --> this might be more common with the norwalk virus, though
#3. s/he ate veggies that were irrigated with water contaminated with feces
It’s a bunch of crap, really.

Seriously, I’d have to suppose #1 is the frequent possibility. Since being born in 1950, I’d always understood that meat should be cooked thoroughly for exactly those kinds of reasons, to kill any toxic bacteria. Espcially ground beef, since it has a lot more surface area for bacteria to gather on. I remember pork being another item that one NEVER ate pink, for trichinosis (sp?), but I’m now told that it’s virtually no issue these days. Old habits die hard.

#2, you can’t say impossible, but extremely unlikely. That would have to some FAST growing e. coli to develop THAT quickly. I mean, hygeine dictates that you always wash before handling food, no matter what you’ve been doing. (Also wash your hands AFTER handling food, too. Especially meat. The residue left on your hands continues to decay, i.e. rot!)

#3, I’d never have associated with e. coli. We’ve always washed produce, if for nothing else, the dirt that it grew in. But also to remove any pesticides as well as simply other people handling it. In fact, I have doubts about e. coli adhering to produce, but the experts say otherwise. And I’m certainly no expert to argue with them. But cows have been shitting in rivers and lakes for centuries and we haven’t had national contaminations before. What’s changed? And I don’t mean since the 19th century, but only in the last 10 years of the 21st century?

MidnightFrost1701: 10 years ago, I would have thought “hamburger”. Now I’d think “salad greens,” simply because the last big recall I can remember for e. coli was “prewashed” salad mix, and the one after that for spinach. But I think the more time I spend in the hospital, the more it will associate with “UTI” in my mind, if not the public’s.