No vaccine or medication can protect you from E. coli-based illness, though researchers are investigating potential vaccines. To reduce your chance of being exposed to E. coli, avoid risky foods and watch out for cross-contamination.
Cook hamburgers until they're 160 F. Hamburgers should be well-done, with no pink showing anywhere in the meat. But color isn't a reliable indicator of whether or not meat is done cooking. Meat — especially if grilled — can brown before it's completely cooked.
That's why it's important to use a meat thermometer to ensure that meat is heated to at least 160 F (71 C) at its thickest point.
- Drink pasteurized milk, juice and cider. Any boxed or bottled juice kept at room temperature is likely to be pasteurized, even if the label doesn't say so.
- Wash raw produce thoroughly. Washing produce won't necessarily get rid of all E. coli — especially in leafy greens, which provide many spots for the bacteria to attach themselves to. Careful rinsing can remove dirt and reduce the amount of bacteria that may be clinging to the produce.
Aug. 01, 2014
- Wash utensils. Use hot soapy water on knives, countertops and cutting boards before and after they come into contact with fresh produce or raw meat.
- Keep raw foods separate. This includes using separate cutting boards for raw meat and foods, such as vegetables and fruits. Never put cooked hamburgers on the same plate you used for raw patties.
- Wash your hands. Wash your hands after preparing or eating food, using the toilet, or changing diapers. Make sure that children also wash their hands before eating, after using the bathroom and after contact with animals.
- E. coli (Escherichia coli). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/ecoli/general/index.html. Accessed June 10, 2014.
- Longo DL, et al. Harrison's Online. 18th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2012. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=4. Accessed June 10, 2014.
- Calderwood SB. Microbiology, pathogenesis, epidemiology and prevention of enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC). http://www.uptodate.com/home/. Accessed June 10, 2014.
- Ryan KJ, et al., eds. Sherris Medical Microbiology. 5th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2010. http://accessmedicine.mhmedical.com/content.aspx?bookid=375&Sectionid=40299161. Accessed June 10, 2014.
- Basic information about E. coli O157:H7 in drinking water. Environmental Protection Agency. http://water.epa.gov/drink/contaminants/basicinformation/ecoli.cfm. Accessed June10, 2014.
- Bain R, et al. Global assessment of exposure to faecal contamination through drinking water based on a systematic review. Tropical Medicine and International Health. In press. Accessed June 10, 2014.
- Calderwood SB. Clinical manifestations, diagnosis and treatment of enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC). http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed June 10, 2014.
- What I need to know about diarrhea. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/diarrhea_ez/index.aspx. Accessed June 10, 2014.