The family of Enterobacteriaceae, Gram-negative motile rod-shaped bacteria, several of which inhabit the gut of many mammals, including humans, without apparent ill effects. However, several coliform organisms do cause diarrhea, and one, Escherichia coli 0157:H7, causes severe bloody diarrhea and dangerous systemic upsets, including inflammatory renal disease. Some coliform organisms are enterotoxigenic and cause diseases such as traveler's diarrhea, which is often due to E. coli organisms. Others are enteroinvasive and cause more severe inflammatory disease with bloody diarrhea. Systemic infection can cause osteomyelitis and septic arthritis.
Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology.