Escherichia Coli O157:H7 as a Foodborne Pathogen
Strains of Escherichia coli which produce Shiga-like toxin are increasingly recognized as a major cause of severe human infection. These strains are verotoxin-producing E. coli, enterohemorrhagic E. coli, or enterotoxic E. coli. The ability of adhesion to intestinal cells is an important factor for the pathogenic potential of E. coli O157:H7. Susceptibility of people to development of hemolytic anemia and hemorrhagic uremic syndrome after infection with E. coli O157:H7 differs. Enhanced risks exist for children less than 5 years of age and immunocompromised or older people. Some studies have found that female sex is a risk factor. Control measures against E. coli O157:H7 infections in animals must take into consideration the main reservoir, cattle. Calves should be bacteriologically cultured regularly, and stables should be sanitized if infections occur. The diagnosis of E. coli O157:H7 infection is based on detection of the organisms in stools.