(a.k.a. E. coli)
Slogan: “You may think I’m foul ‘cause I live in the bowel.”
Habitat: Lives in the intestines of humans and animals. It is widely distributed in the environment in soil and water. It can be found on plants and raw foods handled by people.
Common food sources: Water or food contaminated with human or animal feces.
Illness: In the bowel, E. coli helps with digestion of food and generally does not cause disease. Some strains, however produce enterotoxins and cause illness with diarrhea and fever. E. coli is a major cause of travelers’ diarrhea in people from industrialized countries and it is a leading cause of dehydrating diarrhea in children in developing countries.
How to avoid: Wash hands, especially after using the toilet and before preparing food. Women and girls should wipe themselves from front-to-back or “dab” with toilet paper after using the toilet.