E. coli O157 in rural communities

Molecule bacteria lab cattle and landscape


Opinions and attitudes about E. coli O157

Here are some opinions and attitudes on E. coli O157 risk collected from countryside visitors, farmers, rural residents and abattoir workers.

There are so many different attitudes:

ambivalent, aware, bit scared, blasé, careful, clueless, complacent, concerned, disgusted, don't know, extreme caution, fairly indifferent, flippant, frightened, hate-it, ignorant, indifferent, negative, nervous, neutral, nonchalant, nonplussed, not-anxious, not-bothered, not-concerned, not-worried, outraged, pain, petrified, poor, relaxed, unsure, want-to-know-more, wary, worried...

And many different opinions given:

On catching E. coli O157:

"Elderly may not cook properly or may be unaware of what they are being sold plus their immune system may be compromised"

"The old and the young are more susceptible to infections, I think. But perhaps farmers may be more likely if it is passed from the animals."

"Young not so fussy about hygiene - e.g. don't always wash hands after using toilets however many times they are told!"

"Office worker - not constantly out in the countryside"

"I am a believer in survival of the fittest. A lot of these problems is more to do with other things, such as biological washing powder, central heating, etc. More exposure of the general population to dirt, dust, animals, dung, etc., would, in the long run, be a good thing as it would build up their immune systems. There would be a few casualties along the way, but as I said, the fittest would survive. We are in danger of creating a generation of hypochondriacs."


On E. coli O157 risk:

"Seems to occur very rarely and I don't have the impression it could affect me"

"That I infect others not personally but when visiting people come to the farm especially children and pregnant women, we are always aware of some of the risk that can occur from animal transmitting infections. That's why we ensure hand washing."

"I'm okay, I'm a vegetarian."


On concerns about E. coli O157:

"We could become more likely to have problems finding a way to combat E. coli O157 as it becomes resistant to drugs."

"Yes. Especially when it comes from a source which should be safe , ie. school canteens!"

"I am concerned that when I buy pre-cooked meat from a butchers that they have separated it from raw meat."

"Relatively low infective dose. Easy cross-contamination possibilities can cause serious and prolonged morbidity such as renal failure."

"Illness during group leadership/camping/adventurous training activities."

"When my son had this illness he was very ill. His kidneys suffered and he almost needed dialysis. Until he fell ill we had never heard about it."


On what should be done to reduce risk:

"In public areas, eg. toilets, provide anti-bacterial soaps; leaver or automatic taps so no need to touch taps; dog poo collections."

"Grocers who sell fresh unwashed vegetables etc., could advertise importance of washing items properly plus preparing away from cooked foodstuffs, etc."

"Bring back bleach to hospital floor cleaning."

"People should be made more aware - especially families with young children - when visiting centres with animals - touching gates etc."

"Proper planning as regards sewerage systems. Ensuring slurry isn't dumped into rivers and lakes."

"In addition, many country medical practices do not understand the difference between E. coli and E. Coli O157 (much more aggressive). Targetted information to rural GPs would help."

"Funding for UV watering systems for all private water supplies."

All opinions & attitudes