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Signs and Symptoms

Posted August 1, 2014 2:15 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 General Information web page.

  • People usually get sick from STEC 2-8 days (average of 3-4 days) after swallowing the organism (germ).
    • Most people infected with STEC develop diarrhea (often bloody) and abdominal cramps.
    • Most people recover within a week.
  • Some illnesses last longer and can be more severe, resulting in a type of kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS).
    • HUS can occur in people of any age, but is most common in young children under 5 years, older adults, and people with weakened immune systems.
    • Symptoms of HUS can include fever, abdominal pain, pale skin tone, fatigue and irritability, small, unexplained bruises or bleeding from the nose and mouth, and decreased urination.
    • People who experience these symptoms should seek emergency medical care immediately.
  • STEC infection is usually diagnosed by testing of a stool sample.