18 Feb

E. Coli

E. Coli (Escherichia coli) is part of the normal flora of the human body and lives in the intestinal tract (coliform).  It is used as an indicator organism for fecal contamination.  Pathogenic strains of E. coli can cause of serious outbreaks of diarrhea in humans.  Some are enterotoxigenic strains that produce toxins similar to the cholera toxin.  The cholera toxin causes severe diarrhea.  One Strain of E. Coli O 157:H 7 has been associated with various kinds of contaminated food, especially hamburger, and it has caused several deaths.  E. coli is also responsible for urinary tract infections.  The source of the organims for these infections is usually the intestinal tract of the patient.