E. coli enteritis

Alternative Names

Traveler’s diarrhea – E. coli; Food poisoning – E. coli; E. coli diarrhea; Hamburger disease

Definition of E. coli enteritis

enteritis is inflammation of the small intestine from () bacteria. It is the most common cause of travelers’ diarrhea.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

is a type of bacteria that normally lives in the intestines of humans and animals without causing any problems. However, certain types (or strains) of can cause food poisoning. One strain ( O157:H7) can cause a severe case of food poisoning.


Symptoms occur when bacteria enter the intestine. The time between being infected and developing symptoms is usually 24 – 72 hours.

Signs and tests

The health care provider will perform a physical exam. A stool culture can be done to check for disease-causing .


Cases usually clear up on their own within 1 – 3 days, and no treatment is required.

Expectations (prognosis)

The illness usually runs its course in a few days, without treatment. A small number of patients may need to be admitted to the hospital if they become very dehydrated or they develop hemolytic uremic syndrome.


Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington, School of Medicine; and George F. Longstreth, MD, Department of Gastroenterology, Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program, San Diego, California. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 1/20/2010

Digestive system
Digestive system organs

ADAM Medical Encyclopedia

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