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​Enterotoxigenic Escherichia (E.) coli (ETEC) 

  • Enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC)  an important cause of bacterial diarrheal illness in North America.
  • ETEC is not the same as E. coli 0157:H7, which is a more severe form of E. coli.

Signs and Symptoms

Symptoms can begin 6-48 hours after eating contaminated food or water. Symptoms usually last less than 5 days but can go on for longer.

  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal cramping

Less common symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Nausea with or without vomiting
  • Chills
  • Loss of appetite
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches


  • Infection occurs when a person eats/drinks contaminated food, drinks, water or ice.
  • Human and animal feces are the ultimate source of contamination.


People with ETEC usually recover without treatment. Make sure to drink plenty of liquids to prevent dehydration. If illness is severe treatment may be necessary. Contact a doctor or visit the emergency room.



  • Wash hands and surfaces often and always before starting food preparation.
  • Keep pets, including reptiles, away from food preparation areas.
  • Clean reusable grocery bags and bins often with hot, soapy water.
  • Wash raw fruits and vegetables thoroughly. Scrub firm or rough-skinned produce with a brush.
  • Don’t place cooked food on an unwashed plate that held raw meat, poultry, or fish.


  • Use one cutting board for raw meat, fish, and poultry; and a different one for fresh produce and other foods that will not be cooked to avoid cross-contamination.


  • Cook to a safe internal temperature.
  • Insert thermometer into the thickest part of the meat.


  • Food poisoning bacteria grow and increase in numbers at temperatures between 4°C and 60°C.
  • Chill leftovers quickly in a fridge that is kept at 4°C.


  • Eat and drink only pasteurized juice, cider, milk, and milk products.
  • Eat thoroughly cooked food held at proper temperatures between 4°C and 60°C.
  • Eat fruit and vegetables that have been properly washed.
  • Test your well water often if not on municipal water.

Ask your doctor to report any suspected food poisoning diagnoses to the Brant County Health Unit. If many cases happen at the same time, it may mean that a food premises or a particular food item has a problem that needs to be corrected.