What is E. coli and how do I protect against it?

What is E. coli?

Escherichia coli, or E. coli, is a type of bacteria that can be found in our intestines as part of our gut flora. These harmless bacteria are important for our digestive system by providing a first line of defence against harmful organisms than can cause food poisoning and diseases.

However, some strains of E. coli are harmful and can cause a range of problems. The most common and well-known sickness is food poisoning; caused by eating and drinking contaminated food or water. This usually only lasts for a day or two, but there are more serious E. coli strains which can cause things like breathing problems, urinary tract infections, pneumonia, seizures, and even kidney failure.

Escherichia coli water contamination

E. coli may be found in water that has been contaminated with sewage and other animal wastes. This could happen during rainfall when the E. coli is washed into water tanks, bore water systems, or water bodies that are used as sources for drinking water.

The Department of Health WA advises that E. coli should not be present in any sample of drinking water, so if you suspect your water supply has been contaminated, test and treat it immediately.

Make sure your drinking water is safe from contamination

Our Bacteria Coliform Tests indicate whether any harmful bacteria, such as E. coli, are present in the tested water body. These tests are particularly important if you have your own water supply, such as tanks or bores. With any positive reading, it is strongly suggested that you sterilise your water before consumption otherwise there is the potential for food poisoning and other illnesses. If left untreated, water may even become toxic.

To purify your water tank or other potentially contaminated water sources, use our CleanOxide Water Treatment Tablets. Recommended by the World Health Organisation, CleanOxide is effective against other types of bacteria, fungi, bio-film, protozoa, and algae, and has the added benefit of giving your water a great taste. For complete protection against harmful E. coli strains we recommend using a maintenance dose every 3 months.

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