Escherichia coli (E. coli)
Escherichia coli (E. coli) bacteria, a fecal coliform species, are naturally occurring microorganisms in the intestinal tract of all warm-blooded animals, including humans. Most forms of the bacteria are harmless, however some strains can cause severe illness. The most common strain, E. coli 0157:H7, produces toxins that cause abdominal pain, fever, diarrhea, and vomiting. E. coli bacteria are an indicator of the presence of human or animal fecal material in the water. People may become infected with the bacteria by swimming in or drinking sewage-contaminated water.
The following are potential sources of E. coli bacteria:
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