Submitted to: Foodborne Infections and Intoxications
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: April 16, 2004
Publication Date: May 1, 2005
Citation: Fratamico, P.M., Smith, J.L. 2005. Escherichia coli. In Foodborne Infections and Intoxications. D.O. Cliver and H. Reimann (ed.), Academic Press, New York.p. 205-258. Technical Abstract: Escherichia coli is a major commensal of the human intestine, and for years, the organism was regarded as having low virulence. In the 1920's, E. coli was recognized as a cause of urinary tract infections and in the 1940's as a cause of gastroenteritis in infants. The identification of a wide range of virulence factors followed, and subsequently, E. coli strains associated with enteric disease were divided into six major categories with corresponding distinct pathogenic features. The categories include the enteroinvasive E. coli that are biochemically- and genetically-related to Shigella species, diffusely adherent E. coli, that adhere in a characteristic pattern to mammalian cells, the enteroaggregative E. coli and enteropathogenic E. coli, that cause persistent diarrhea in children in developing countries, the enterotoxigenic E. coli, a cause of traveler's diarrhea, and the enterohemorrhagic E. coli, which cause hemorrhagic colitis and hemolytic uremic syndrome. Much research has focused on studying the genomes of E. coli providing information on the mechanisms of virulence of the organism, as well as information for the design of methods for the detection of specific E. coli strains. However, there continues to be many gaps in our knowledge of the interactions of pathogenic E. coli strains with humans, in particular, as E .coli strains with novel patterns of virulence factors emerge.