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Signs and Symptoms

Multistate Outbreak of Shiga Toxin-producing Escherichia coli O145 Infections (Final Update)

Posted July 20, 2012 3:30 PM ET

This particular outbreak appears to be over. However, E. coli is still an important cause of human illness in the United States. More information about E. coli, and steps people can take to reduce their risk of infection, can be found on the CDC E. coli Web Page.

Clinical Features

  • People usually get sick from STEC 2 – 8 days (average of 3 – 4 days) after swallowing the organism. Most people infected with STEC O145 develop diarrhea (usually watery and often bloody) and abdominal cramps. Most illnesses resolve on their own within 7 days. Some illnesses last longer and can be more severe.
  • Infection is usually diagnosed by testing of a stool sample. Many clinical laboratories do not test for non-O157 STEC, such as STEC O145. Compared with STEC O157 infections, identification of non-O157 STEC infections is more complex. First, clinical laboratories must test stool samples for the presence of Shiga toxins. Then, the positive samples must be sent to public health laboratories to look for non-O157 STEC.
  • Most people recover within a week but, rarely, some develop a more severe infection. Hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a type of kidney failure, can begin as the diarrhea is improving. HUS can occur in people of any age but is most common in children under 5 years old and the elderly.