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E. coli in the Home – It’s Not Just Found in Contaminated Foods

Boston, MA – WEBWIRE

This summer, The Boston Globe published a report about the tragic death of a child in Norfolk County who had become infected with a dangerous strain of Escherichia coli (E. coli).  It was the first child death in Massachusetts due to E. coli since 2012.

E. coli are a large group of bacteria found in the environment and the intestines of people and animals.  Although most strains of E. coli are harmless and some are an important part of a healthy intestinal tract, others can cause severe illnesses. Some can cause diarrhea, urinary tract infections, respiratory illness and pneumonia as well as other conditions.

The pathogenic strains of E. coli, meaning they can cause illness, are categorized into pathotypes.  Six pathotypes are associated with diarrhea and collectively are referred to as diarrheagenic E. coli.  They include the following:

  • Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) – STEC may also be referred to as Verocytotoxin-producing E.coli (VTEC) or enterohemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC)
  • Enterotoxigenic Ecoli (ETEC)
  • Enteropathogenic Ecoli (EPEC)
  • Enteroaggregative Ecoli (EAEC)
  • Enteroinvasive Ecoli (EIEC)
  • Diffusely adherent E. coli (DAEC)

Some types of E. coli are used as markers for water contamination so tests may be conducted on drinking water or in a flooded property.  Depending on the type of E. coli found, it may or may not in and of itself be harmful, but its presence indicates fecal contamination.
E. coli that causes diarrhea and other conditions may be transmitted through contaminated water or food, or through contact with infected feces from animals, people or contaminated surfaces,” said Jason Dobranic, Ph.D., Vice President of Microbiology and Life Sciences at EMSL Analytical, Inc.  “If a home or building has experienced a sanitary sewer overflow (SSO) or flooding, E. coli could be in the property.  Floodwaters and sewage could also contain other intestinal bacteria such as Salmonella and Shigella.”

EMSL offers analytical services, personal protective equipment (PPE) and sampling supplies to identify E. coli and a wide range of other microbial pathogens.  They also recently sponsored and educational video about E. coli that can be seen at:

To learn more about testing for E. coli or other microbial pathogens, please visit, call (800) 220-3675 or email .
About EMSL Analytical, Inc.
EMSL Analytical is a nationally recognized and locally focused provider of environmental, indoor air quality and materials testing services and products to professionals and the general public.  The company has an extensive list of accreditations from leading organizations as well as state and federal regulating bodies.

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