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Accidentally ate undercooked hamburger

So we were eating at a restaurant tonight and my son was 90% done with his hamburger when we noticed it was undercooked. :voodoo:

I know the chances of food poisoning are very small but what I am wondering is if there is anything I can do now to help prevent him from getting ill? His White blood cell count is at a 4.3 right now, so on the low side. I worry if he did get ecoli that it would be very serious for him.

Any advice?? Am I just being paranoid??

(We did order the burger well done and have tried to train our son to check before he eats it.)
C has never specified for his hamburger so I'm sure he has eaten some that were less than well done, also he won't eat a well done steak he likes them medium rare. We've switched to grass fed beef but he hasn't changed how he likes them cooked.

I hope it all turns out ok for your DS!
You're not being paranoid, or maybe I'm just as paranoid as you! I know the chances of getting sick are fairly small, but undercooked ground beef is the most common cause of Ecoli poisoning. If the meat has Ecoli, then it's all through it because it's ground, which is why it needs to be fully cooked. A steak can be rare on the inside and that's ok, because if it had Ecoli it would've only been on the surface, which got cooked. Symptoms of poisoning can start within hours, or up to 10 days from the time the food is eaten. Can you call the hospital for advice?
I would be just as paranoid as you! I'm sure there is only a tiny chance of anything happening, but I would worry to. Don't think there is anything you could do, but I would imagine that if anything was to develop it would happen within the first 12 hours.
He is feeling good!

From what I read it can take from 1-10 days to have a reaction. So I will just get him in if he displays any symptoms.

I wasn't sure if I should hold off on meds for a few days? I know when he has had a fever the nurse tells me not to give him 6mp. I don't want to call the on call service over this. If he having any symptoms I would but I feel like a freak calling just because he had a pink hamburger. Although, I am not above embarrassing myself just to make sure I am doing the right thing. I have certainly done that before!!:shifty:

I will probably call his GI nurse and run it by her tomorrow. She knows I am a overly protective mom so she probably just chuckle. Although, I have been surprised once or twice by things I thought were no big deal and they took them very seriously.

I will let you all know how things work out and what advice she gives me.

Thank you for responding!


Holding It Together
Have you thought of probiotics? Perhaps boosting his good bacteria will help fight off any bad bacteria that might be trying to colonize...
When we were omnis, we got what we thought was "stomach flu" once or twice every year. When we went veg, all of that stopped.

We weren't eating pink meat, either, so it was obviously cross contamination, which I'd never heard of at that time.

Whenever I eat in non-veg restaurants, I always worry a little about cross contamination, but what are you gonna do? Odds are you'll be fine and odds are your boy will be too, but I can understand why you're worried.

When my engineer was a toddler, he ate a piece of a month old hot dog and he turned out okay...wait a minute! ;)


I don't know if that can bring any reassurance, I ended up eating raw hamburger meat that was pretty much sitting at room temperature when I was in Morocco last winter. We were sharing that meal in the shade when suddenly the clouds went away to let me and my friend realize we were eating pretty much raw ground beef. We were sure we would be sick and well, we did not even feel weird.

It also happened with raw chicken being manipulated then our then the chicken then our food... I don't speak arabic nor tamazight and this was not in the most touristic area so I could hardly communicate with them. But I was pretty much like :O OMG. But to that, I also survived. I told my friend, worst come to worst I have a mountain of cipro in my luggage. Once again we haven't been sick.

I mean, I won't suggest anyone not to cook their food or anything but I had a few time where I had to experiment meat that had been put in extreme conditions (considering what we are used here) and I unexpectedly did fine.

So there it is, I hope you son will be alright. Most chances are he will! xfingers!


Im with the understanding that if the mince was straight from a piece of steak, then its ok to eat rare (for the same reason why you can eat steaks rare), but if its mince that has been minced for a while then it needs to be fully cooked.

I personally eat all my steaks rare (and if the chance burgers), as I find it tastes so much better and is easier to digest
He was ironically just on probiotics. He had an ear infection and was prescribed a z pack and the GI put him on Florastor a few days later. He finished that up about a week ago. So maybe we will get some lingering effects??

He had one loose stool last night. He rarely gets them, as he is more prone to constipation, but it happens occasionally. Seems to feel fine other than that.

I had a friend whose two daughters had ecoli poisoning and they nearly died. I really don't want to find out how someone with a suppressed immune system would fair. I feel like I need to ask our GI about it now. They never spoke to us about what having a suppressed immune system really meant and most of what I have learned I read about online. I am not sure if it truly pertains to our situation or if the immune system of a cancer patient is what is being referred to. You would think they would have a little handout that talked about not eating sushi, or asking for a mask at the ER, or never ordering a hamburger anything but well done.

Did any of you get advice from your Dr about what to do or not to do with a suppressed immune system?


Staff member
Glad he seems to be okay. :)

I did ask Stephen's GI the same question, his answer was that being immune-suppressed does not make it more likely that you will catch something but can make it more difficult to fight what you do catch. He also said that, even with this being the case, they very rarely have patients who have problems fighting something off (I believe he said one or two patients a year??? and this is a very large IBD clinic in one of Toronto's largest hospitals). He did say fevers should be checked out but, other than that, didn't give any specific instructions beyond the basics - personal hygiene, don't eat questionable foods ;), etc.

But, I'd be interested in hearing what your GI says.
Ditto ^^^

Our GI said the number and frequency of infections and things is the same, the issue is the duration and possible severity once already sick.
Basically the same here. Catching something is not increased, but the severity of the illness may be. Our GI said our son being exposed to someone with a cold was not cause for worry, but chickenpox, etc., would be.

Another thing about the meat, the chances of it having Ecoli are less if it is of high quality and butchered in clean way, ie. kosher. You could always check where the restaurant obtained their beef, then do some investigating from there. I expect the restaurant got it's meat from one of our "very clean North American mega butchering factories". (I think I've watched one too many food documentaries!)

I hope your son stays well. Keep us updated.


I dont think kosher is any cleaner. Although they do specify that they have to separate their knives for meat, poultry and veg, Laws are there in all food industries to keep raw meat, cooked meat, and veg (and utensils used) separate.
I'm into carpaccio, medium-rare steak and sometimes a little beef tartare. The meat that should be properly cook are the likes of chicken or pork.


Ive actually eaten pork tenderloin that was on the pink side and was really nice (USDA also say roasts and pork chops can be medium rare).

Ive read somewhere that there are some chefs that are looking at whether it is ok to eat slightly pink chicken as well (although that doesnt sound too appetising lol)

Carpaccio sounds really nice alex_chris, I might have to find a place near me that does that :)
Another loose stool today, very unlike him.

No stomach cramps though.

Wondering if I should hold his 6mp tonight and call nurse in the morning???

Does anyone know how ecoli develops? I know it starts with watery diarrhea, but when does it move to stomach cramps and bloody diarrhea?

Can it cause a flare?
Does he know the concerns over the hamburger? Brian sometimes has loose stools when he's stressed. Just a thought.
Sorry, but I don't know how ecoli develops. At least you are on top of it. If that is what happens then you'll get it fixed fast. Not all meat has ecoli either. I'm sending you prayers that its just nothing!! :)
Yes he knows.

I don't think it is bothering him too much though. And he doesn't have Diarrhea, just loose stools. One Sunday night and two on Tuesday night so I think with a nervous stomach he would be going a lot??

I gave him his meds last night. I will call the nurse today and ask what her thoughts are. She has crohn's herself and has been on 6mp for 20 years so I am sure she has run into this issue before in some form. I will let you all know what her advice is.
Talked to the nurse today, she doesn't think the hamburger was the issue. GI wants him back on Florastor. He was on it about two weeks ago because he had taken a z pack for an ear infection. She is thinking if its anything its CDIFF. Ugh, didn't see that coming.:ybatty: Although I should have.

He is starting probiotic today and we check in again on Friday. So we shall see...


Super Moderator
:eek2: Hoping it's not C Diff Johnnysmom! Fingers crossed the Florastor does the trick and all soon settles for your lad, bless him. :ghug:

E Coli is a normal bowel bacteria in most humans so if you develop gastroenteritis that is E Coli related then it would be a different strain and most likely a result of food poisoning, so either contaminated meat etc or unhygienic personal practices by those preparing food.

Dusty. xxx
I used to have random tummy pain growing up.
I had eaten an undercooked beef burger at the age of 28 and I was in pain for 24 hrs until being admitted to hospital. I thought the pain would go away but it did not. The following week I was diagnosed with crohn's.
I wouldn't worry.

There's quite a number types of E Coli, some are commensals and are normally harmless in an immunocompetent person, they're "unwelcome guests" since they don't seem to be present in everyone, but overall harmless.

There's also harmful types of E Coli, of specific and increased interest in crohn's disease is a type called AIEC, adherent invasive E coli., it's found in the ileum of people with crohn's disease. As it's name implies, it's able to adhere to the gut wall and it invades macrophages.

Why people with crohn's disease have AIEC and how they got there is a mystery I think. They're there since they're often isolated in biopsies. Cats and Dogs carry them but that doesn't mean they're able to transmit them them to humans, some people without crohn's disease have AIEC too but in much lower numbers.

AIEC also might explain why cipro has some benefit in some people with crohn's disease, cipro is extremely effective against E Coli. Cipro is a quinolone which means it's macrophage penetrating, which makes it effective against intracellular types of bacteria like AIEC.
I made a list of all AIEC E. Coli studies a while ago too: http://www.crohnsforum.com/showthread.php?t=52198

There's also studies about E coli and the effect of probiotics people mentioned. In vitro tests show that probiotics are able to decrease the spread of some E Coli. But AIEC lives in biofilms and there's no in-vivo experiments I know of, biofilms are extremely hard to penetrate and the few labs working on treatments that might kill AIEC aren't focused on probiotics or even antibiotics, they're focused on agents that can penetrate and dissolve the biofilms AIEC lives in.

There's also probiotics E. Coli, Nissle 1917 is an E. Coli probiotic that is effective in-vitro against other types of E. Coli, the issue is that Nissle is genotoxic so doctors advise against using it.

When E. Coli forms a strong biofilm, even strong antibiotics isn't going to be able to eradicate it.

Sorry for the off-topic, whatever was in that hamburger was probably nothing compared to some of the E Coli people with crohn's disease harbour.