You may have heard about the recent e. coli outbreak at Chipotle restaurants. If you or anyone you know eats at this restaurant you may be left with many questions - what does this mean for you? Should you be worried? What is e. coli?
Our Chief Medical Editor, Dr. Preeti Parikh gives you the facts on e. coli. Escherichia Coli, or more commonly e. coli, is a naturally occurring bacteria found in the intestine. Most of the time it is harmless, but sometimes food can be contaminated with a harmful strain of e. coli when it is undercooked or mishandled.
It is difficult to identify food that is contaminated with e. coli. Symptoms of e. coli typically occur 3-4 days following e. coli exposure, but can appear anywhere from several hours to up to 10 days following exposure. If there is risk that you have been exposed to e. coli, you should monitor your symptoms during this entire window of time.
Most e. coli infections do not require treatment and do usually get better in 5 to 10 days. If you are experiencing symptoms like fatigue, fever, nausea, cramping, vomiting or diarrhea, be sure to see your doctor.