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E-Coli Outbreaks

Japan With Kids - Forums: Health Topics: E-Coli Outbreaks
By Cornelia on Thursday, August 2, 2001 - 9:54 pm:

Every year there are a number of cases where a child catches e-coli virus and does not survive.

5-year-old dies from E.coli poisoning

Thursday, August 2, 2001 at 09:30 JST
NARA EA 5-year-old boy died Tuesday in an outbreak of the O-157 strain of E.coli bacteria at a nursery in Ikoma, Nara Prefecture, officials of the Nara prefectural government said Wednesday.

Eight other children experienced stomach ache and diarrhea but their symptoms were relatively light, the officials said. (Kyodo News)

The daycares and kindergartens generally send home a newsletter every month and always at this point of the year there are several paragraphs devoted to safe food preparation during the hot summer months. A 5% bleach in water solution will clean all e-coli as well as a lot of other bacteria from all your counter and table tops and door knobs. Hands are a really important conduit of germs so washing hands after going to the toilet is important. But try to remember that e-coli is not usually a killer and is a natural inhabitant of our bowels. Most people have strong immune systems developed including most children.

"Gastroenteritis is the irritation and inflamation of the digestive tract that causes upset stomach and intestines." (THE AMERICAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION FAMILY MEDICAL GUIDE 3rd edition, paage 491) "Usually the symptoms go away in 24 to 48 hours." "Self-help: stay home, rest and after you have stopped vomiting drink plenty of fluids." Oral rehydration solutions contain water, salts and glucose. (The athletes drink brand Gatorade in the USA is a good option for this purpose to give you an idea of what would be appropriate if you can find something similar in Japan.)

The news reports do not include details, but it is likely that the children who do not survive these infections were otherwise compromised. You are especially vulnerable to new germs if you are on a course of antibiotics (for something else) that the newly introduced germ is resiliant against.

Virus caused gastroenterits can not be treated with antibiotics since antibiotics only work against germs/bacteria. But in Japan, a lot of doctors do not perform cultures to actually look for a germ before prescribing an antibiotic. It is very common to prescribe antibiotics without first confirming the need for antibiotics.

The E. Coli bacteria 157 strain is particularly deadly. (example: 6 deaths out of 2000 infected in Walkerton, Saskatoon, Canada in summer 2000) There is a vaccine being developed in Canada to be given to beef cattle, who are the source of E. coli 157 (through the feces). Testing started August 2000 at the Veterinary Infectious Disease Organization in Saskatoon. But there doesn't seem to be any news about that this year.

There is another report in the alternative medicine materials that activated charcoal can soak up the e-coli 157 strain and the toxins that they release. I'm still trying to verify the source. Activated charcoal is sold in health food stores in the USA. I will try to collect more info on this and put it up here. Mostly I hope people will follow common sense and not freak.

If your child develops diarrhea, remember de-hydration is a serious side-effect (which can lead to death) and to give him/her lots of salt/glucose liquids. Small people de-hydrate faster than big people, and kids have to be constantly reminded to drink or may need help drinking. There is lots more to add to this discussion and I hope that anyone who has good advice will speak up.

By Cornelia on Friday, August 3, 2001 - 10:10 pm:

is a web page put up by the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta, Georgia which covers the E.Coli subject very thoroughly.

By Kurz on Monday, February 4, 2008 - 9:53 pm:

Chinese-Made Frozen Gyoza Warning:
Many people may already have heard about this, but there has been a recall on certain brands of Chinese made frozen dumplings (gyoza) since it was discovered that they were contaminated with phosphate. It is estimated that at least 400 people were mis-diagnosed with other gastric infections such as e. coli, etc. since about mid-December 2007, who in fact suffered from phosphate poisoning. They expect this to continue for a while (since some of the contaminated gyoza are sitting in freezers and not being returned to place of purchase). Doctors have been notified to be on the lookout for phosphate poisoning.

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