Escherichia coli O157:H7

DISEASE(S) AND SYMPTOMS

  • Hemorrhagic colitis; hemolytic uremic syndrome

DIAGNOSIS

  • identification of antibodies to O157:H7 serotype

INFECTIOUS AGENT

  • Escherichia coli O157:H7, a bacterium

  • one of several ''EHEC" (enterohemorrhagic E. coli) strains

  • EHEC bacteria produce potent cytotoxins, called Shiga-like toxins 1 and 2

  • cattle are believed to be the reservoirs of EHECs

MODE OF TRANSMISSION

  • ingestion of contaminated food, typically poorly cooked beef and raw milk

  • transmission by direct contact may occur in high-risk populations

DISTRIBUTION

  • probably worldwide

  • most cases have occurred in North America and Europe

INCUBATION PERIOD

  • 12 to 60 hours

TREATMENT

  • oral replacement of fluids and electrolytes (intravenous if necessary)

PREVENTION AND CONTROL

  • proper cooking of meat

  • hand washing

  • proper sewage and water treatment

FACTORS FACILITATING EMERGENCE

  • probably spread of a bacterial virus carrying the gene for Shiga-like toxin production into the otherwise unremarkable host, E. coli O157:H7



The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement