Health Care Provider Information on E. coli O157:H7 and HUS

on this page:
Required Disease Reporting
Clinical Features
Laboratory Diagnosis
Treatment

Required Disease Reporting

Clinical Features

Laboratory Diagnosis

  • Infection with E. coli O157:H7 is diagnosed by detecting the bacterium in the stool. Most laboratories that culture stool do not test for E. coli O157:H7, so it is important to request that the stool specimen be tested on sorbitol-MacConkey (SMAC) agar for this organism. All persons who suddenly have diarrhea with blood should get their stool tested for E. coli O157:H7.

Treatment

  • Most persons recover without antibiotics or other specific treatment in 5-10 days. There is no evidence that antibiotics improve the course of disease, and it is thought that treatment with some antibiotics may precipitate kidney complications. Antidiarrheal agents, such as loperamide (Imodium), should also be avoided.

  • Hemolytic uremic syndrome is a life-threatening condition usually treated in an intensive care unit.
    • HUS develops in about 5% of reported E. coli O157:H7 cases, most frequently in young children or the elderly.
    • Blood transfusions and kidney dialysis are often required. With intensive care, the death rate for hemolytic uremic syndrome is 3%-5%.


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Updated Tuesday, 16-Nov-2010 12:21:09 CST