Pathogenic Escherichia coli Strains Biological Agent Reference Sheets (BARS)
|Agent Type||Risk Group||Biosafety Level||Animal Housing Biosafety Level|
Risk Group: RG-2 associated with human disease, rarely serious; preventive or therapeutic interventions often available.
Agent Type: Bacterium
Description: Gram negative rod; motile, aerobic; produces Vero /Shiga toxins (VT/STx), 2 types, VT1/Stx1 and VT2/Stx2. Use serotyping to determine somatic and flagellar antigens. Genotyping PCR will identify Toxin types. Use antibiotic susceptibility testing to rule out Multi Drug Resistant (MDR) strains.
Host Range: Humans, Mammals (agricultural and wild) Host Shedding: Blood, Feces, Urine
Route of Exposure to Humans: Direct Contact, Mucous Membranes, Contaminated Items, Ingestion, Percutaneous
Infectious Dose: Human infection can result from as low as 10 organisms by ingestion
Incubation Period: 2-8 days (median of 3-4 days)
Signs and symptoms of infection may include:
- Gastrointestinal symptoms (i.e. loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea)
Immunizations: None available Prophylaxis*: Available
*Formal medical advice is obtained during medical consultations with Cornell Health or primary healthcare provider as needed.
|Survival Outside Host||Disinfection|
Survives well in contaminated feces and soil, only small reduction in organism number over 2 months. Survives well in foods: up to 50 min in butter; 10 days in cream; survives well in hamburger meat; does not survive long in slurry systems (inoculum of 108 cfu/mL became undetectable after 9 days)
1:10 Bleach Dilution
Moist heat at 121°C for at least 5 minutes; dry heat at 160-170°C for at least 1 hour
For more guidance on disinfection see: disinfectant selection.
- High energy-creating activities (centrifugation, sonication, high pressure systems, vortexing, tube cap popping)
- Handling of sharps (needles, scalpels, microtome blades, broken glass, etc.)
- Splash/droplet-creating activities (shaking incubators, liquid culturing, mechanical pipetting)
- Equipment contamination
- Exposed skin/uncovered wounds
Laboratory Acquired Infection (LAI) History: Four reported cases of laboratory infections of E. coli since 1981.
Laboratory Handling Guidelines
Laboratory Biosafety Level (BSL): BSL-2
Attenuated Strain Alternatives: Due to the extremely low infectious dose of this pathogen, attenuated strains should be worked with where possible. Recommended alternative strains include: E. coli K12, E. coli 25922, E. coli Nissle, E. coli Castellani and Chalmers ATCC 700728, and other E. coli strains approved by EHS Biosafety pending documented absence of shiga-toxin producing genes.
|Training||Lab Engineering Controls||Personal Protective Equipment|
Waste Management: Regulated Medical Waste (RMW)
Shipping Guidance: Refer to EHS Biological Materials Shipping
Animal Vivarium Guidance
Animal Housing Biosafety Level (ABSL): ABSL-2
Animal Biosecurity: Experimental animals are housed separately
Perform Inoculations: In a Biosafety Cabinet
Change Cages: In a Biosafety Cabinet
Exposure and Spill Procedures
Mucous Membranes: Flush eyes, mouth, or nose for 15 minutes at an eyewash station. See: responding to exposures.
Other Exposures: Wash with soap and water for 15 minutes (open wounds, sores, etc.) or a minimum of 20 seconds for areas with intact skin. See: responding to exposures.
Large Spills: Request assistance from the EHS Spill Team by calling CUPD dispatch. Call 911 from a campus phone or 607-255-1111 from a mobile phone.
Incident Reporting: Immediately report the incident to supervisor and complete the EHS online injury/illness report as soon as possible.
- For students, seek medical attention at Cornell Health or local primary care provider. Call Cornell Health at 607-255-5155 (24-hour phone consultation line) or a local urgent care.
- For faculty and staff, seek medical evaluation with a local primary care provider or urgent care. Cornell Health does not see employees for post-exposure care.
- Emergencies: Call 911 from a campus phone or 607-255-1111 from a mobile phone.