Coliform Bacteria

Coliform Bacteria Health Risks


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Health Risks

However, not all Coliform bacteria are harmful, presence of E. coli in the water may indicate the pathogens organisms may be present as well, including: Shigella, Salmonella, or parasites.

The symptoms most often associated with drinking water containing Coliform bacteria are: diarrhea, neausea, vomiting, cramps and other gastro-relalted distresses. In the most extreme cases pathogens may infect the lungs, kidneys, nervous system, liver, skin and eyes, and the effects may be severe or even fatal.

The most vulnerable to Coliforms are children, elderly and those with deficiencies in the immune system.

E. coli is generally neutral but a few strains are pathogenic and can cause diarrhea. Strain of E.coli 0157:H7 can cause intestinal illness and in very rare cases, a serious kidney condition called hemolytic uremic syndrome.

The Coliform bacteria Shigella can cause dysentery.

Vomiting, abdominal pain, fever and diarrhea are syndromes of gastroenteritis, commonly known as ‘food poisoning’. This condition can be caused by drinking water contaminated with strains of Salmonella.

Cholera and typhoid fever can be also transmitted by contaminated water.

Coliform bacteria are also associated with the presence of parasites responsible for waterborne diseases.

Giardiasis is a diarrheal illness caused by a parasite - Giardia intetinalis. The parasite lives in the intestine of people and animals and has been recognized as one of the most common causes of waterborne disease. Symptoms include diarrhea, loose or watery stool, stomach cramps. They generally begin 1-2 weeks after being infected and last up to 6 weeks with young children and pregnant women being particularly vulnerable.

Cryptosporidiosis is another diarrheal disease caused by a microscopic parasite, Cryptosporidum parvum. It lives in the intestine of human and animals and is passed in the stool of an infected organism. It causes a diarrhea, watery stool, stomach cramps and a fever. Symptoms generally starts 2-10 days after being infected.

Viruses that causes polio and hepatitis and helminthes such as roundworm and tapeworm are also commonly present in water contaminated by Coliforms.