Submitted to: The Encyclopedia of Food
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/30/2015
Publication Date: 2/15/2016
Citation: Smith, J.L., Fratamico, P.M. 2016. Escherichia coli as other Enterobacteriaceae: food poisoning and health effects. In: Caballero, B., Finglas, P., and Toldra, F. (eds.) Encyclopedia of Food and Health. Oxford: Acad. p. 539-544.
Technical Abstract: Many Escherichia coli strains are harmless, and they are an important commensal in the intestinal microflora; however, pathogenic strains also exist. The pathogenic strains can be divided into diarrhea-inducing strains and strains that reside in the intestines but only cause disease in bodily sites outside of the gastrointestinal tract (extraintestinal pathogenic E. coli; ExPEC). Intestinal E. coli pathotypes may induce a watery diarrhea leading to dehydration; however, Shiga toxin-producing E. coli cause severe diarrhea or hemorrhagic colitis, and infection may result in hemolytic uremic syndrome and death. The intestinal E. coli pathotypes are transmitted to humans via food and water, and transmission can also occur from animals and person-to-person. ExPEC cause diseases such as urinary tract infection, neonatal meningitis, and sepsis, as well as infections in other bodily sites. Avian pathogenic E. coli (APEC) are a cause of poultry diseases and are closely related to the E. coli strains that induce urinary tract infection and neonatal meningitis infections. Poultry contaminated with ExPEC and APEC may be an important source of E. coli strains that cause illness in humans in extraintestinal sites; however, additional research is needed to confirm this.