E. coli, Campylobacter Linked to Later Heart, Renal, Blood Pressure Problems

Kathleen Blanchard's picture

People with a history of E. coli and Campylobacter infection could face later heart, blood pressure and kidney problems. Researchers at Lawson Health Research Institute (Lawson) and The University of Western Ontario (Western), who studied individuals with acute gastroenteritis after drinking water, May 2000, found the link. The bacteria comes usually comes from fecal contamination.

E. coli, Campylobacter may Double Chances of Heart Attack

The study found those who became more than mildly ill with gastroenteritis had 1.3 times more likelihood of developing hypertension, were 3.4 times more likely to develop kidney dysfunction, and 2.1 times more likely to have heart attack, stroke or other cardiovascular events.

The researchers assessed the risk of hypertension, heart problems and kidney disease after 8 years. The study participants had been exposed to water contaminated with E coli O157:H7 and Campylobacter bacteria. Data was taken from the Walkerton Health Study.


Dr. William Clark, Scientist at Lawson, Nephrologist at London Health Sciences Centre and Professor of Nephrology at Western's Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry says, "These long term consequences emphasize the importance of ensuring safe food and water supply as a cornerstone of public health."

The E coli O157:H7 bacteria is the most common strain in the United States that has also raise public health concerns; prompting beef recalls.

The study included 1977 adults. Of those, more than half developed sudden gastroenteritis that produces symptoms similar to Salmonella that sickened thousands from contaminated eggs.

The findings, published in the British Medical Journal, show a link between food and water-borne illness that may not be just linked to E. coli and Campylobacter. The authors also note the importance of annual monitoring of high blood pressure, kidney function and heart problems in individuals with a history of E. coli or Campylobacter infection that could cause individual suffering and drive heath care costs.

BMJ 2010; 341:c6020
Reference: Campylobacter