Coliform infection is infection caused by gram negative coliform species bacteria which include E.coli, klebsiella enerobacter, K.serratia. These bacteria reside in human colon as well as in the intestine of warm blooded animals. Therefore they are detected in fecal matter. Coliform species are also found in soil and with poor sanitation facilities they can contaminate drinking water.
Coliform species present in soil are called total coliform, while those found in feces are referred as fecal coliform. Among the coliform group of bacteria, E.coli is most dangerous. This pathogen can cause intestinal disease.If E.coli colonizes in periurethral area, it can ascend upwards into the urethra producing acute urinary tract infection in sexually active females. Other species such as K.enterobacter can also produce gastrointestinal infection.
Signs And Symptoms Of Coliform Infection
The total coliform count is generally an indication of the quality of drinking water. Presence of large number of coliform pathogen in water is suggestive of it being polluted. Most of the coliform species are not as virulent as E.coli to produce catastrophic ailment. Consumption of water and food contaminated with E.coli organism produces host of illnesses, particularly gastrointestinal infection.
Ingestion of food and water contaminated with serotype 0157:H7 can produce inflammatory changes in digestive tract. Person with low immunity is certainly susceptible to develop bacterial infection when he comes in contact with it.
Coliform bacteria such as E.coli produces watery or bloody diarrhea depending on the virulence trait of the organism. Diarrhea is accompanied with abdominal cramps, vomiting, nausea, gaseous distension, loss of appetite, fever, weakness. As diarrhea due to coliform infection causes loss of fluid from the body, patient is at risk of suffering from dehydration. Patient feels giddy and lightheadedness. Body and muscle ache is common due to loss of fluid.
Coliform organism especially E.coli can colonize in other system of the body such as urinary tract. This may result in burning urine, increased frequency, fever and pus in urine.
What Causes Coliform Bacteria Infection?
Coliform species is habitant of gastrointestinal tract. It is therefore found in feces. A certain species of coliform is extremely virulent and it may cause disease. Infection develops when a person drinks or eats water and food that is contaminated with feces. E.coli can seep into meat while handling. Consumption of uncooked or improperly cooked meat can thus lead to coliform infection.
Eating raw fruits and vegetables or improperly cooked vegetables can become a source of E.coli infection. Poor sanitation can also lead to coliform infection. The bacteria can also spread to other person from an infected person if does not wash his hands after bowel movement.
Treatment Options For Coliform Infection
The main concern with coliform infection, especially of E.coli is to stop diarrhea and replenish fluid that is lost. Replacement and maintenance of fluid and electrolyte is the key towards cure in such cases. Patient should be given oral re-hydration solution and breast fed infants should be continued with breast feeding.
Although E.coli diarrhea is self limited, patient is often prescribed antibiotics to prevent complications. Antibiotics kill the bacteria and prevent their further multiplication. Patient is advised to drink boiled water and well cooked food. To prevent further spread of disease, he is also advised to wash his hands properly with soap water after every bowel movement.