Short for Escherichia coli O157, E. coli is a bacterium that is usually found in the intestines of warm-blooded animals. Not all strains of E. coli are harmful but those that are can cause food poisoning and illness in humans. It can be passed to humans through contact with an infected animal/ person, eating contaminated food, such as raw unwashed vegetables or undercooked meat, being exposed to contaminated water.
How does E. coli get into the water system?
If humans drink – or swim in – water that has been contaminated by E. coli – they are at risk of serious illness. Carried in the faeces of animals, E. coli can find its way into the water supply when the source becomes contaminated. This can result from sewage being illegally mixed into the water supply, or where run-off from farmland following heavy rain or snow flows into streams and rivers. Chemicals added to drinking water counter the threat, but in cases where water has been inadequately treated – or not treated at all – E. coli contamination is a risk.
Health risks with E. coli and drinking water
E.coli infection can cause the stomach complaint gastroenteritis. Once infected, symptoms usually appear within two to three days but can take as long as two weeks to show.
- Diarrhoea (particularly with blood)
- Abdominal cramps
- Loss of appetite
Most cases of E. coli can be treated at home and will clear up within a couple of weeks. However, more serious cases can lead to a condition called haemolytic uraemic syndrome (HUS), which in the worst case scenario can be fatal. HUS can cause neurological problems causing confusion and seizures, as well as kidney problems. This serious condition usually, but not exclusively, affects children aged five years old and under.
How using a water filter can help to protect against E.coli
Drinking water from a safe source is the most important consideration in protecting yourself and your family from E. coli infection through water. Using a water filter will add an extra layer of protection to domestic drinking water supplies. If the quality of drinking water is questionable then using a water filter is vital to help filter out potentially harmful contaminants.
Doulton Water Filters use specialist ceramic technology to remove 99.99% of pathogenic bacteria such as E. coli.
Don’t leave the quality of your drinking water to chance, protect against E. coli by always using a water filter.