Enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC) cause of travellers’ diarrhoea
Posted on August 28th, 2013

Dr Hector Perera         London

This is a common cause of bacterial diarrhoea caused by ETEC among travellers and in underdeveloped nations, especially among children. ETEC is transmitted by food or water contaminated with animal or human faeces. Although ETEC causes a significant amount of illness worldwide, the infection will end on its own and is rarely life-threatening. When food is prepared in hotels and in takeaways, would they take enough care in food preparation? Take for instant some vegetables such as salad leaves, leeks and “ƒ”¹…”mukunuwenna’, one has to think would they be cleaned properly before they were cooked. One of the reasons is time pressure that means they need many things to cook so they do not pay enough attention to the cleanliness and hygienic conditions. Salad leaves are hardly washed when they get from the market, they are used as supplied. Vegetables are sprayed with insecticides, herbicides and likely to get contaminated with soil and dirty water. In the past there were reports about possible contaminations from these kinds of raw foods when eaten from restaurants.  Salad leaves are eaten fresh so bacteria and ETEC might enter the digestive system easily.

Escherichia coli is a bacterium that normally lives in the intestines of humans and other animals. Most types of E. coli are harmless, but some can cause disease. Disease-causing E. coli are grouped according to the different ways by which they cause illness. Enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli, or ETEC, is the name given to a group of E. coli that produce special toxins which stimulate the lining of the intestines causing them to secrete excessive fluid, thus producing diarrhoea.

We know for fact that green leaves such as “ƒ”¹…”mukunuwenna, kan kun, tampala’ and spinach are very nutritious vegetables but have you witnessed how they are grown? If the supply is from good farming conditions then there would be no problems but I have seen how they are naturally growing near water ways such as by the river flooding and over flowing areas? Along with rain and drain water comes some dirt that feed the plants. Who knows whether it is contaminated with human, animal faeces, discarded motor oil and chemicals such as paints?  They need thorough and careful washing to get rid of dirt adhering to the leaves and stems. It’s up to you to understand whether they would be carefully prepared in large scale food preparations.

The Best Way to Remove Intestinal Bad Bacteria.

Your intestinal tract is home to millions of micro-organisms that help you digest food and fight disease. In a perfect world with no pollutants, food additives or excessive antibiotic drugs, these organisms would be in balance and cause no problems at all. But because we don’t live in a perfect world, many of us find ourselves with symptoms of imbalance in the intestinal flora.

Symptoms of Imbalance

 Although these symptoms may have other causes, they are often associated with an imbalance in the gut. Chronic constipation, diarrhoea or irritable bowel syndrome are the most common clues that your digestive tract needs to be balanced. Until recently, these problems were treated with pharmaceutical medicines that may have helped the symptoms but did nothing to remedy the cause. According to a study in Oxford Rheumatology in June 2008, incomplete digestion due to flora imbalance leads to leaky gut syndrome, which, in turn, can cause such complaints as fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome.

The symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) vary from person to person and there are often periods when they are better or worse.

There may be times when your symptoms improve and you’ll be able to do many normal, everyday activities. However, at other times your symptoms may flare up and get worse, affecting your daily life.


The main symptom of CFS is persistent physical and mental fatigue (exhaustion). This does not go away with sleep or rest and limits your usual activities.

Most people with CFS describe this fatigue as overwhelming, and a different type of tiredness from what they have experienced before.

Exercising can make symptoms worse. This is called post-exertional malaise, or ‘payback’. The effect of this is sometimes delayed for example, if you were to play a game of sport, the resulting fatigue may not develop for a few hours afterwards, or even the next day.

People with severe CFS are unable to do any activities themselves or can only carry out simple daily tasks, such as brushing their teeth. They are sometimes confined to their bed and are often unable to leave their house. This may be due to sheer laziness than actually suffering from CFS. How many people are keen to keep personal hygiene? That again not that they suffer from CFS symptoms. 

 Fibromyalgia is pain and stiffness in the muscles, ligaments and tendons. It is not arthritis because it does not affect the joints, although the joints might hurt. It is important to understand that simply because you feel tired or exhausted that you suffer from this disease. A medical doctor has to come to a conclusion. Fibromyalgia may affect one part of the body or several different areas such as the limbs, neck and back.

There is no simple cure for fibromyalgia, but there are ways of managing your symptoms. It is thought that people with fibromyalgia are unable to obtain the deep restorative sleep our bodies need. This leads to a cycle of fatigue and pain. There are usually aches all over the body although there will be certain areas where the pain is more localised.

How will it affect?

Some of the main symptoms are: pain, fatigue and exhaustation, sleep disturbance and waking up feeling unrefreshed, aching and stiffness, headaches, concentration problems, irritable bowels.

Feeling tired a lot of the time can make it hard to carry out simple every day tasks such as doing housework or going to work. This can also make you feel frustrated and depressed.

How is it treated?

Your doctor may prescribe you with: painkillers or non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) to help with the pain, a steroid injection into a joint to reduce pain, antidepressants to help with the pain, sleep disturbance and depression, anti-convulsion drugs, normally used to treat epilepsy.

It is very important to have an active lifestyle when you have fibromyalgia. Aerobic exercises, such as swimming and walking, will reduce pain and fatigue, build strength in your muscles, and help you lose weight. This, in turn, could help you to sleep and feel better.

How to Get in Balance

 At least 7,000 micro-organisms can be found in the human body, so it would be presumptuous to think that all complaints could be cured by balancing one or two of the most commonly known. But many problems can be improved by lowering your Candida albicans population and improving the numbers of Lactobacillus acidopholus, Lactobacillus bifidus and Bifodobacterium. Candida albicans is technically a type of yeast rather than a bacterium. It can get out of hand under certain circumstances such as overuse or improper use of antibiotics, over consumption of processed foods and sugar and under consumption of naturally fibrous foods such as vegetables and whole grains. The people who depend on junk foods have to be over cautious because that kind of food are lacking of nutritional values. As I mentioned before sometimes University students depend on junk food due to various reasons.

The medical advice is, one way to lower your yeast count is to take a course of caprylic acid supplements over a period of two weeks, during which you severely limit simple carbohydrates including sugar, bread and potatoes. Drink plenty of water and take a fibre supplement to assist your body in getting rid of the killed yeast. Some people drink carbonated sugary drinks than fresh water, this has to be cut down to a minimum. After this, increase your consumption of sugar-free yogurt, raw and lightly cooked vegetables and fresh fruit. In another place I saw they are advised to take probiotic product such as Align, Bio Beads or Accu Flora, which are all available over the counter but again you need to consult a doctor. While we don’t live in a perfect world, your best bet for good health is to eat a more perfect diet of fresh vegetables, fruits, whole grains and quality protein such as eggs, legumes and lower-fat meats. This, according to researcher Gail Cresci of the University of Georgia, is the best way to keep your intestinal flora in balance. Any comments please perera6@hotmail.co.uk  

One Response to “Enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC) cause of travellers’ diarrhoea”

  1. Lorenzo Says:

    Travellers’ diarrhea?

    On a lighter note, this may explain why Navi Pillai the traveler is crapping all over SL’s north.

    After that all other Tamils in the north will catch diarrhea.

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