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Getting Tough On E. Coli Can Help Prevent Kidney Failure

(NC)-Despite the fact that Canada's food supply is among the safest in the world, sometimes the food we eat can make us sick. Foodborne illness, of which there are more than one million cases reported each year, results from the presence of a harmful strain of bacteria called E. coli, which is found in contaminated aliments. These bacteria produce toxins that cause diarrhea, abdominal cramps, fever and vomiting. One particular strain of E. coli may lead to a condition known as Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS), which causes damage to the kidneys - particularly among children and the elderly.

Common foods that contain harmful E. coli are beef, pork, lamb and poultry. However, as Montrealer Pascale Dupont discovered, these are not the only potential sources. Her 9-year-old daughter Émilie developed HUS through an E. coli infection she most likely contracted after eating mussels.

"My daughter was in the hospital for weeks and had to undergo dialysis treatments because of kidney failure due to infection," explained Dupont. "While she is no longer on dialysis, her kidneys were permanently damaged, and she will likely need dialysis again in the future." According to Dr. Marie-Josée Clermont, a nephrologist at Montreal's St-Justine Hospital, "Infections could be prevented if people recognized that they play an important role in ensuring the safety of the foods they eat." To help reduce the risk of foodborne illness, The Kidney Foundation of Canada recommends the following four guidelines: CLEAN: Wash hands, utensils and surfaces with soap and hot water before, during, and after food preparation. Wash raw vegetables; lettuce should be washed leaf by leaf to remove all visible soil. SEPARATE: Don't cross-contaminate by allowing uncooked foods and their juices to come into contact with one another. Use a separate cutting board for raw meats and vegetables. Always keep foods covered. COOK: Cook food thoroughly at proper temperatures and serve immediately.

CHILL: Freeze or refrigerate perishables, prepared foods and leftovers within two hours. Thaw meats in the microwave or in the refrigerator, but never at room temperature. For further information, visit The Kidney Foundation of Canada's Web site at www.kidney. ZZZZZZ .


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