Escherichia coli (E. coli) are bacteria that can be found routinely in the intestines of healthy humans and animals worldwide and are usually harmless. However, some people may get urinary tract infections, traveler's diarrhea, or rarely bloodstream or other infections from these bacteria. Some strains produce a toxin (shiga-toxin producing E. coli; STEC) which causes disease, including diarrhea, often bloody, abdominal pain, and sometimes hemolytic uremic syndrome (a type of kidney failure).
E. coli infections in general are NOT reportable in Orange County, but any shiga-toxin producing E. coli (STEC; i.e., E. coli O157 and non-O157 serotypes), positive shiga-toxin testing results, and hemolytic uremic syndrome are all reportable immediately by phone (714-834-8180) to OCHCA Epidemiology. An average of 51 STEC or shiga toxin-positive cases were reported each year between 2013 and 2017. Carbapenem-resistant E. coli isolates are also laboratory reportable (see Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE).
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