Escherichia coli(E. coli) is a bacterium that's found in the environment, foods and intestines of people and animals.
Many strains are harmless, but some can make you very sick, causing diarrhea, urinary tract infection, respiratory illness and pneumonia, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says.
Certain strains produce a toxin called Shiga, leading to some 265,000 illnesses, 3,600 hospitalizations and 30 deaths each year in the United States, the CDC says. Older adults, young children and people with compromised immune systems are most vulnerable to infection.
To help prevent E. coli infection, the CDC suggests:
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