Escherichia coli (E. coli) bacteria live in the intestines of people and animals, and are key to a healthy intestinal tract. Most E. coli strains are harmless, but some can cause diarrhea through contact with contaminated food or water while other strains can cause urinary tract infections, respiratory illness and pneumonia.
Why Is the Study of E. coli a Priority for NIAID?
CDC estimates that 265,000 Shiga Toxin-Producing E. coli (STEC) infections occur each year in the United States. Approximately 36 percent of these infections are caused by E. coli O157:H7.
How Is NIAID Addressing This Critical Topic?
Scientists in NIAID labs and NIAID-supported scientists are using basic, clinical, and applied research to better understand how to detect, treat, and prevent foodborne diseases.
Related Public Health and Government Information
To learn about risk factors for E. coli and current prevention and treatment strategies visit the MedlinePlus E. coli infection site.