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E. Coli Prevention in Chicago Beach Waters

Posted on in Food Poisoning
E. Coli Prevention in Chicago Beach Waters

In preparation for beach season, the Chicago Park District has begun administering new water quality tests at four South Side beaches and one North Side beach:

  • Calumet
  • Rainbow
  • South Shore
  • 63rd Street
  • Montrose

The University of Illinois at Chicago developed the new testing method. It produces water-testing results within 18 hours, allowing the Park District to quickly determine whether bacteria, such as E. coli, are present in the water. In addition to piloting the University's new water quality test, the Park District will continue to conduct the tests they have used for years to determine E. coli presence.

What is E. Coli?

Escherichia coli is a bacterium that lives in the intestines of humans and animals alike and also causes food poisoning illness. The first identified source of E. coli illness was contaminated hamburgers in 1982.

According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, symptoms of E. coli infection include:

  • Severe diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain

However, some people show few or no symptoms so laboratory tests are needed to identify the presence of E. coli in the stool of an infected person. The E. coli infection usually lasts for five to ten days.

Children and the elderly are prone to more severe damage from E. coli, such as the destruction of red blood cells or acute kidney failure.

Where does E. Coli Come From?

A major source of E. coli infections is undercooked beef. If beef is pink or has bloody juices, it has not been cooked enough to kill the E. coli bacteria. Meat that is contaminated with E. coli looks and smells normal.

Other sources of E. coli bacteria include drinking raw, unpasteurized milk and drinking or swimming in water that is contaminated by sewage.

How is E. Coli Transmitted?

E. coli bacterium, which is present in stool, can be passed from person-to-person as a result of improper hygiene or handwashing practices.

How is E. coli Treated?

Antibiotics are not usually required for an infected person to recover from an E. coli infection. The infection usually resolves itself within five to ten days.

How Can I Protect Myself From Being Exposed to E. Coli?

The following practices may prevent exposure to E. coli bacteria:

  • Thorough cooking of hamburger and ground beef
  • Consuming only pasteurized milk and milk products
  • Proper hand washing with soap and warm water
  • Treating municipal water supplies with chlorine or other disinfectants
  • Monitoring cattle for potential exposure to E. coli bacteria

What to Do if You Have Been infected With E. Coli

As the symptoms of E. coli occur rapidly and often resolve within ten days, it is vital that you immediately seek legal assistance if you have suffered from an E. coli infection. Contact Newland & Newland, LLP to discuss your legal options today. You may also contact us via email to schedule a free phone consultation.

We also make home and hospital visits upon request.

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