E. coli can affect anyone who is exposed to the bacteria. But some people are more likely to develop problems than are others. Risk factors include:

  • Age. Young children and older adults are at higher risk of experiencing illness caused by E. coli and more-serious complications from the infection.
  • Weakened immune systems. People who have weakened immune systems — from AIDS or drugs to treat cancer or to prevent the rejection of organ transplants — are more likely to become ill from ingesting E. coli.
  • Eating certain types of food. Riskier foods include undercooked hamburger; unpasteurized milk, apple juice or cider; and soft cheeses made from raw milk.
Jul. 28, 2011