Escherichia coli (E. coli) bacteria normally live in the intestines of healthy people and animals. Most varieties of E. coli are harmless or cause relatively brief diarrhea. But a few particularly nasty strains, such as E. coli O157:H7, can cause severe abdominal cramps, bloody diarrhea and vomiting.
You may be exposed to E. coli from contaminated water or food — especially raw vegetables and undercooked ground beef. Healthy adults usually recover from infection with E. coli O157:H7 within a week, but young children and older adults can develop a life-threatening form of kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS).
Jul. 28, 2011
- Escherichia coli O157:H7. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/nczved/divisions/dfbmd/diseases/ecoli_o157h7. Accessed May 19, 2011.
- Guerrant RL. Escherichia enteric infections. In: Goldman L, et al. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2008. http://www.mdconsult.com/das/book/body/191371208-2/0/1492/0.html#. Accessed May 19, 2011.
- Craig S, et al. Acute invasive bacterial enteritis. In: Marx JA, et al. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2010. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/about.do?about=true&eid=4-u1.0-B978-0-323-05472-0..X0001-1--TOP&isbn=978-0-323-05472-0&uniqId=230100505-57. Accessed May 19, 2011.
- Calderwood SB. Clinical manifestations, diagnosis and treatment of enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC). http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed May 19, 2011.
- Calderwood SB. Microbiology, pathogenesis, epidemiology and prevention of enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC). http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed May 19, 2011.
- Basic information about E. coli O157:H7 in drinking water. Environmental Protection Agency. http://water.epa.gov/drink/contaminants/basicinformation/ecoli.cfm. Accessed May 19, 2011.
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