Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: March 14, 2002
Publication Date: August 1, 2002
Citation: FRATAMICO, P.M., SMITH, J.L., BUCHANAN, R.L. BOOK CHAPTER: FOODBORNE DISEASES. BOOK CHAPTER. 2002. Academic Press. p. 79-101. Technical Abstract: Escherichia coli is part of the normal flora of the intestinal tract of warm-blooded animals and humans; however, the role of this organism is unknown. Since the early 1900s, the food industry has used E. coli as an indicator of fecal contamination in water and food. In the 1940s, enteropathogenic E. coli strains were identified as a cause of infantile gastroenteritis, and subsequently, additional E. coli types that can act a gastrointestinal pathogens were isolated. The six main groups of diarrheagenic E. coli include the enteroinvasive, diffusely adherent, enteropathogenic, enteroaggregative, enterotoxigenic, and enterohemorrhagic E. coli. Each of the groups causes diarrhea by a different mechanism; however, the pathogenic mechanisms generally involve attachment to host cells or attachment followed by invasion of intestinal cells and the production of toxins. In the early 1980s, enterohemorrhagic E. coli serotype O157:H7 emerged as a major cause of bloody diarrhea and hemolytic uremic syndrome, the leading cause of kidney failure in children in the U.S. Outbreaks caused by E. coli O157:H7 have been associated with many different food groups, water, and contact with animals. Research conducted in the past 60 years on the major diarrheagenic E. coli groups has enhanced the understanding of the mechanisms of pathogenesis, virulence factors, and epidemiology and etiology of food-borne disease cases and has permitted the development of methods for detection of the pathogens.