Urinary tract infections, bacteremia, meningitis, and diarrheal disease are the most frequent clinical syndromes associated with Escherichia coli. Escherichia coli O157:H7 is associated with hemorrhagic colitis and hemolytic-uremic syndrome (HUS). Escherichia coli is an aerobic, gram-negative bacillus most frequently isolated from the intestines of humans and animals. As a result, it is used as an indicator of fecal contamination in water sources. This pathogen readily grows on a variety of culture media including MacConkey Agar. Salmonella and Shigella are major causes of bacterial enteric illness. Transmission occurs via the fecal-oral route, person-to-person contact, or by the ingestion of contaminated food or water. A relatively small number of organisms ingested is capable of causing symptomatic infection. While multidrug resistant Shigellae are prevalent, a multidrug resistant strain of Salmonella typhimurium (DT104) emerged in 1985 that is resistant to five antibiotics. Salmonella and Shigella are aerobic, gram-negative, oxidase-negative bacilli. Some Salmonella and all Shigella are nonmotile. These organisms grow on standard media, such as MacConkey Agar, SS Agar, and XLD Agar. Enrichment broths should also be used when culturing for these organisms to allow for maximum recovery.
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