Escherichia coli (e. coli)
Published Date:September 2016
Corporate Authors:National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases (U.S.)
Description:E. coli are a large and diverse group of bacteria. Although most strains of E. coli are harmless, others can make people sick. Some kinds of E. coli cause disease by making a toxin called Shiga toxin. The bacteria that make these toxins are called “Shiga toxin-producing E. coli”, or STEC for short. STEC bacteria live in the intestines of many animals and are usually transmitted to people when they eat foods contaminated with the bacteria.
The most commonly reported type of STEC in the United States is O157. Other STEC are called non-O157. Some types of STEC frequently cause severe disease, including bloody diarrhea and hemolytic uremic syndrome, which is a type of kidney failure.
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