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E. coli

What is E. Coli?

  • An abbreviation for the bacterium Enterobacteriaceae family called Escherichia coli
  • "Escherich" was the scientist who isolated the bacteria in 1885
  • Many types exist—some healthy, some dangerous; the most common harmful strain is E. coli 0157:H7
  • Organisms are harbored in animal and human feces
  • The most common sources are ground beef and raw milk; less commonly found in produce

Typical Symptoms

  • Severe abdominal cramps
  • Bloody diarrhea
  • Possible organ damage and/or death

Most at risk

  • Young children
  • Elderly and/or immunocompromised persons

How is it Spread?

  • Contaminated food or water
  • Person-to-person contact
    • Examples:
    • If an infected person does not wash his/her hands properly after using the toilet, bacteria can be passed by physical contact or by handling food
    • If water contaminated with E. coli (through animal or human feces) touches food at any stage (irrigation, washing, rinsing, etc.), the food may also become contaminated
Food Safety