1. How are Shiga toxin-producing E. coli infections of the digestive tract treated?
The recommended treatment for O157 Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) infection that has not progressed to hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) is supportive care (rest and rehydration). Those who are at an increased risk of developing HUS, such as children or the elderly, will be monitored closely. If they develop HUS, hospitalization will be required.
Infections of non-O157 Shiga toxin-producing E. coli are also treated with rest and rehydration, and they are often resolved without any additional intervention.
3. Why shouldn't I take anti-diarrheal medication if I have a Shiga toxin-producing E.coli infection of the gastrointestinal system?
Anti-diarrheal medicines may worsen or prolong your illness because they delay the removal of E. coli from your gastrointestinal tract by inhibiting the normal movement of food and fluids through the GI tract.
Parasites can also cause diarrhea. They are found in lakes and streams throughout the world and may also contaminate swimming pools, hot tubs, and community water supplies. The most common single-celled parasites responsible for gastrointestinal illness in the U.S. are Giardia lamblia (giardia), Entamoeba histolytica (E. histolytica), and Cryptosporidium parvum (crypto).
Rotavirus is the most common cause of severe diarrhea among children. Other viruses that cause diarrhea include Norwalk, noroviruses (also called Norwalk-like viruses), adenoviruses, calciviruses, cytomegalovirus (CMV), and HIV.
This article was last reviewed on January 5, 2012. | This article was last modified on May 14, 2015.
The review date indicates when the article was last reviewed from beginning to end to ensure that it reflects the most current science. A review may not require any modifications to the article, so the two dates may not always agree.
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