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E. coli​

Hundreds of Escherichia coli (E. coli) strains are harmless, including those that thrive in the intestinal tracts of humans and other warm-blooded animals. These strains are part of the protective microbial community in the intestine and are essential for general health. Other strains, such as E. coli serotype O157:H7, cause serious poisoning in humans, including major disease outbreaks from contaminated food and other sources affecting about 70,000 people in the United States each year. In June 2011, an outbreak of infections involving Shiga toxin-producing E. coli, STEC 0104:H4, a very rare form of E. coli, occurred among hundreds of people in Germany, including several suspected U.S. cases involving people who recently traveled to Hamburg, Germany. The most likely source of infection was identified as tainted fenugreek seeds used to grow sprouts. Because STEC E. coli infections can be spread from person-to-person, the best protection is through careful hand-washing. Read more E. coli Overview

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Last Updated March 15, 2012