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E. coli

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Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) occurs when people consume contaminated foods or liquids. The U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service recall site lists food products contaminated with harmful E. coli.

The most common contaminated foods and liquids that have caused E. coli outbreaks include

  • Undercooked or raw hamburgers
  • Salami
  • Produce such as spinach, lettuce, sprouted seeds
  • Unpasteurized milk, apple juice, and apple cider
  • Contaminated well water or surface water frequented by animals

STEC can also occur by

  • Failure to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water following contact with an infected animal or animal waste. This can occur at farms, petting zoos, fairs, or even in your own backyard.
  • Failure to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water following contact with an infected person
  • Swallowing unchlorinated or underchlorinated water in swimming pools contaminated by human feces
  • Swimming in water with even very low levels of sewage contamination
  • Consuming contaminated food, water, or ice

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Last Updated November 16, 2011