E. coli

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Escherichia coli (abbreviated as E. coli) bacteria normally live in the intestines of people and animals. Most E. coli are harmless and actually are an important part of a healthy human intestinal tract. However, some E. coli are pathogenic, meaning they can cause illness, either diarrhea or illness outside of the intestinal tract. The types of E. coli that can cause diarrhea can be transmitted through contaminated water or food, or through contact with animals or persons.

Cases and outbreaks of Shiga Toxin Producing E. coli (STEC) have been associated with the consumption of undercooked beef (especially ground beef), unpasteurized milk, unpasteurized apple juice, contaminated water, lettuce, alfalfa sprouts, and venison jerky. The bacteria have also been isolated from poultry, pork and lamb.

Anyone can get infected, although the highest infection rates are in children under 5 years old.

 
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