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How Does Escherichia coli O157:H7 Testing in Meat Compare with What We Are Seeing Clinically?

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Escherichia coli O157:H7 is but one of a group of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) that cause both intestinal disease such as bloody and nonbloody diarrhea and serious complications like hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). While E. coli O157: H7 is the most renowned STEC, over 200 different types of STEC have been documented in meat and animals, at least 60 of which have been linked with human disease. A number of studies have suggested that non-O157 STEC are associated with clinical disease, and non-O157 STEC are present in the food supply. Non-O157 STEC, such as O111 have caused large outbreaks and HUS in the United States and other countries. The current policy in the United States is to examine ground beef for O157:H7 only, but restricting the focus to O157 will miss other important human STEC pathogens.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: New England Medical Center, 750 Washington Street, Boston, Massachusetts 02111, USA

Publication date: June 1, 2000

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