Escherichia coli are bacteria found in the environment, foods and intestines of people and animals. Most strains of E. coli are harmless but others can make people sick.
Symptoms of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli infection vary, but often include severe stomach cramps, diarrhea (often bloody), vomiting and possibly a fever, typically less than 101 degrees. Most people get better within five to seven days. Some infections are mild, but others are severe or even life-threatening. The onset of symptoms for most is three to four days after eating or drinking something that contains the bacteria. However, illnesses can start anywhere from one to 10 days after exposure, according to the CDC.
Anyone experiencing severe E. coli symptoms is urged to immediately call a health care provider.
If you have E. coli symptoms, to help public health officials solve the source of the outbreak, write down what you ate in the week before you got sick, report your illness to your local or state health department and answer public health officials’ questions about your illness.