Gastroenteritis Outbreak Tied to Later Health Problems

Condition after water contamination linked to higher risk of renal impairment, CVD

FRIDAY, Nov. 19 (HealthDay News) -- People who have gastroenteritis after drinking water contaminated with Escherichia coli O157:H7 and Campylobacter may have a higher risk of renal impairment, cardiovascular disease, and hypertension, according to research published Nov. 17 in BMJ.

William F. Clark, M.D., of the London Health Sciences Centre in Canada, and colleagues analyzed data from 1,977 adults in the Walkerton Health Study. Participants were recruited after a gastroenteritis outbreak following the contamination of a municipal water system.

The researchers found that 54 percent of the participants reported acute gastroenteritis during the outbreak. Those with acute gastroenteritis were more likely to have incident hypertension compared to those with no or mild illness (38 versus 32 percent; adjusted hazard ratio [aHR], 1.33). Those exposed to acute gastroenteritis were more likely to have two indicators of renal impairment, which were microalbuminuria or an estimated glomerular filtration rate less than 60 ml/min/1.73 m² (2.1 versus 0.9 percent, aHR, 3.41). The risk of cardiovascular disease was also higher after the illness (aHR, 2.13).

"This study represents a rare opportunity to assess the long term sequelae after acute gastroenteritis from drinking bacterially contaminated water. Our findings underline the need for following up individual cases of food or water poisoning by E. coli O157:H7 to prevent or reduce silent progressive vascular injury," the researchers conclude.

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