How Much Do You Know About E. Coli Illness?
E. coli bacteria often make the news. As a source of foodborne illness, E. coli can be deadly. But aren't E. coli also regular residents of our intestines? When do E. coli become the "bad guys"? To learn more about this common bacterium, take the following quiz.
5. In what kinds of food has the strain E. coli 0157 been found?
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Cases that involve undercooked hamburger can be blamed on the strain of E. coli found in the intestines of cattle. It can contaminate the beef during slaughter. Hamburger meat is more susceptible to contamination because the bacteria are ground into the meat's interior, where temperatures don't get as high during cooking. Other contaminated foods include unpasteurized milk, salami, lettuce, alfalfa and radish sprouts, game meat, and cheese curds. The bacteria also can be spread from one person to another through families and child-care centers that don't practice good hygiene. Another mode of transmission is by swimming in or drinking water that has been contaminated with fecal material. This can include swimming pools, wading pools, unchlorinated water, and groundwater. It is thought that it takes only a small number of bacteria to cause an infection, maybe as few as 10 organisms.
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