Doctor's Notes on Shiga Toxin: E. coli 0104:H4
Shiga toxin is a strain of the Escherichia coli (E. coli) bacteria that are commonly found in fecal material but can cause infections when they spread to urine or blood. The Shiga toxin can invade the lining of the gut and/or produce toxins that cause damage or secretory malfunctions of gut cells, which can cause watery or bloody diarrhea.
Symptoms of Shiga toxin include watery or bloody diarrhea. Complications of the Shiga toxin occur when the bacteria enter the bloodstream and include hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), which causes kidney damage that can be temporary or permanent and symptoms such as reduced urination and low blood counts (anemia). Other symptoms of complications of the Shiga toxin include thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP), a condition that causes a reduction in platelet counts, resulting in both bleeding and clotting problems including stroke or seizures.
What Is the Treatment for Shiga Toxin: E. coli 0104:H4?
No specific treatment is required for infection with E. Coli 0104:H4. Most infected people recover without any specific treatment within 5-7 days.
Antibiotics have not been shown to improve the course of the disease or relieve symptoms. Further, most experts advise against taking antidiarrheal medications. Treatment for those infected is supportive, including maintaining adequate levels of hydration.
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Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.