Escherichia coli is a common gram-negative rod shaped bacteria which includes pathogenic strains or serotypes which can cause food borne illnesses. A notable example is Serotype 0157: H:7 which produces a potentially lethal toxin which can cause death especially in the very young or very old.
Other pathogenic, STEC strains include O104:H4, O121, O26, O103, O111, O145, and O104:H21, with 0157:H7 known as the ‘big 6 or the big 7’. Toxins associated include Endotoxins. Many strains are found in the lower intestines of warm blooded animals and are harmless. Associated with both meat and vegetables and relatively ubiquitous in the environment.
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