E. coli bacteria. Coloured scanning electron micrograph of Escherichia coli bacteria on a membrane. These rod-shaped, Gram-negative bacteria are normal inhabitants of the human intestine and are usually harmless. Under certain conditions E. coli may increase in number and cause infection. Some strains of E. coli are responsible for gastro-enteritis in children, particularly in tropical countries. In adults E. coli is the cause of traveller's diarrhoea and of 80% of all urinary tract infections. It is also the organism most used in genetic studies. Magnification: x3,300 when printed at 10 centimetres wide.
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