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Diarrheagenic E. coli

Last updated: November 26, 2020

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Escherichia coli (E. coli) is a gram-negative, rod-shaped flagellated bacterium. Although it is an essential component of the bacterial gut flora, the disease may be caused by direct intake of a pathogenic E. coli subtype (e.g., in contaminated food) or spreading of the intestinal bacteria to another organ (cystitis, pneumonia). Enterohemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC), for instance, can lead to severe colitis and hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), particularly in children and infants. In such cases, diarrhea should only be treated symptomatically, as antibiotics can lead to increased toxin secretions that exacerbate the course of the disease. Supportive therapy without antibiotic therapy is also recommended for infection involving other strains of E. coli (ETEC, EPEC, and EIEC), but antibiotics may be indicated in certain cases.

Do not use antibiotics if EHEC is suspected.

EHEC leads to HUS.

ETEC causes Travelers' diarrhea.

EPEC causes Pediatric diarrhea.

EIEC Invades the Intestinal mucosa.

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