E. coli Can Double Heart Attack Risk

A new study conducted in Canada suggests that <"http://www.yourlawyer.com/practice_areas/food_poisoning">E. coli O157, considered the most virulent strain of the foodborne pathogenic disease, could also be responsible for increased risks for blood pressure and cardiac problems long after the most apparent effects of the poisoning are gone, wrote the BBC.

According to results of the study, which included about 2,000 participants and which appears in the British Medical Journal, heart attack risk was doubled and researchers recommended annual physicals for patients, whether or not a full recovery was made, explained the BBC.

In the United Kingdom, some one million cases of food poisoning occur annually; however, E. coli strain O157 is considered the most dangerous, said the BBC, adding that one of the researchers pointed out that fundamental food safety could stave off many cases of the infection. In the United States, this E. coli strain is considered an adulterant, causing specific danger in ground beef.

The US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that every year at least 2,000 Americans are hospitalized, with about 60 dying as a direct result of E. coli infection and related complications. In the UK, said the BBC, approximately 1,000 cases are confirmed annually. Most infections come from eating undercooked ground beef, drinking contaminated water, drinking unpasteurized (raw) milk, and working with cattle. It is widely believed that these figures are grossly understated since many people do not report they have fallen ill.

E. coli symptoms generally manifest about seven days following exposure and usually begin with sudden, severe abdominal cramps. This is followed in a few hours by watery diarrhea that eventually becomes bloody. Some victims may experience a mild fever, as well as nausea or vomiting. In some patients, the infection can also cause a complication called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), in which the red blood cells are destroyed and the kidneys fail. This complication can be fatal.

The research, which took place at Victoria Hospital, London Ontario, looked at those people impacted by a municipal water system contamination in Walkerton in 2000, according to the BBC. In that outbreak there were seven deaths and thousands of reported illnesses. The team followed up on the medical history since, said the BBC, and found that kidney problems tripled in those who were symptomatic versus those who were not. “It is a rare strain, but the key thing is to stop yourself falling ill in the first place” Bob Martin, Food Standards Agency wrote, quoted the BBC.

Those most sickened were also likelier to develop high blood pressure and experienced a two-fold increased likelihood of suffering a heart attack during the study period, said the BBC, leading researchers to conclude that the dangerous poison released by E. coli O157 could potentially lead to inflammation adversely affecting blood vessel linings, which could lead to an increased risk of cardiac and blood pressure issues. Annual blood pressure checks are recommended for those seriously affected by the infection, said the team, wrote the BBC.

Bob Martin, a microbiologist at the Food Standards Agency, calls for increased hygiene in the first place saying, quoted the BBC, “It is a rare strain, but the key thing is to stop yourself falling ill in the first place. You can reduce the risk by keeping things clean in the domestic setting, and cooking food thoroughly…. Keeping food properly refrigerated is also important, as is preventing cross-contamination.”

Help filing claims and other legal assistance for the victims of E. coli and other foodborne diseases is available at <"http://www.yourlawyer.com/practice_areas/food_poisoning">www.YourLawyer.com.

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