As I was looking over the many recent E. coli-related news bites today, one in particular caught my attention. Titled, "How E.coli made me appreciate my iPad," the article recounts the recent foodborne illness experience of ZDNet writer, Jason Perlow, on a business trip in Chicago. While he decided against detailing the more unpleasant aspects of his illness, he does hint at his misery:
Over the next 12 to 24 hours, my body began to ache along with flu-like symptoms and a fever, and I developed a case of extreme gastrointestinal distress and abdominal cramps. While I was able to work (barely) on Tuesday, it quickly turned into a never-ending battle between the Conference room and the Men’s room.
I evacuated liters of water as fast as I was able to consume it, and the thought of putting any food into my body was nauseating. For two days I literally had to force feed myself basic starchy foods and protein.
The suspected culprit? E. coli O145 contaminated romaine lettuce from a salad. Mr. Perlow discovered with hotel management that the salad he consumed was made using romaine lettuce from a brand implicated in the recent Freshway Foods E. coli O145 outbreak. I will note that his 12 hour incubation period makes it is very unlikely that he actually had an E. coli infection from the suspected salad. The typical illness onset is 2 to 5 days after ingestion of E. coli bacteria, although it has been found to be as broad as 1 to 10 days.
Nonetheless, I tip my hat to Mr. Perlow for highlighting the truth behind many severe foodborne illness outbreaks: it is much more than a mere stomach ache. Thankfully he suffered through his illness without experiencing any of the significant complications that can occur from an E. coli infection, like Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS).
Oh, and what does E. coli have to do with an iPad? Through his horrible ordeal, the iPad was Mr. Perlow’s bedside/toilet-side companion and otherwise general connection to the outside world. Isn’t technology grand?