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What is E. coli O157:H7?
E. coli O157:H7 is one strain of Escherichia coli (E. coli) bacteria. In general, E. coli bacteria can be found in the intestines of healthy humans and animals worldwide and are usually harmless, although some people may get urinary tract infections, traveler's diarrhea, or rarely bloodstream or other infections from these bacteria. E. coli O157:H7, however, makes a toxin (called shiga toxin) that can cause severe illness, including bloody diarrhea and a complication called hemolytic uremic syndrome (see below).
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