Gram-negative, facultative anaerobic, non-sporulating, rod-shaped bacterium. Strains that possess flagella are motile.
E. coli and related bacteria constitute about 0.1% of gut flora. Fecal-oral transmission is the major route through which pathogenic strains of the bacterium cause disease.
Most E. coli strains are harmless, but some serotypes can cause serious food poisoning in humans, and are occasionally responsible for product recalls due to food contamination.
The harmless strains are part of the normal flora of the gut, and can benefit their hosts by producing vitamin K2, and by preventing the establishment of pathogenic bacteria within the intestine.
Virulent strains of E. coli can cause gastroenteritis, urinary tract infections, and neonatal meningitis. In rarer cases, virulent strains are also responsible for hemolytic-uremic syndrome, peritonitis, mastitis, septicemia and Gram-negative pneumonia.
UPEC (uropathogenic E. coli) is one of the main causes of urinary tract infections. It is part of the normal flora in the gut and can be introduced many ways.
Certain strains of E. coli are a major cause of foodborne illness.
Important considerations: The choice of an agent should be based on local antimicrobial sensitivities, site of infection, cost, and comorbid conditions. Generally, the most common agents/regimens are listed first. Listed dosages may need to be adjusted for renal dysfunction.
Nitrofurantoin: 50-100mg orally q6h. Macrobid® 100mg orally bid. Renal: use is contraindicated for CrCl <60 ml/min.