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Disease Carriers

Bacteria: Escherichia coli

Escherichia coli is a common gram-negative bacterium found in normal human bacterial flora; some strains, however, can cause severe and life-threatening diarrhea.

Recently there has been an increase in disease caused by strain 0157:H7, both world wide and in the United States. Contaminated ground beef has been implicated as the major mode of transmission. While infection with this strain results in diarrhea, it can cause hemorrhagic colitis and hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). Persons developing HUS have a mortality rate of 3-10%, and and it is a leading cause of acute renal failure in children under the age of 4.

Escherichia coli (E.coli)

A transmission electron micrograph of Escherichia coli (E.coli), negatively stained to enhance contrast. Note the projecting pili, which may be involved in mechanisms of infection.

Learn more about E. coli infections.