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.
Small Spills: Notify others working in the lab. Don appropriate PPE. For spills involving fecal material, cover area of the spill with paper towels, working from the perimeter toward the center, use the paper towels to remove the spill and associated organic material. Discard contaminated paper towels. For spills involving fecal material and all other spills apply (or re-apply) 6% hydrogen peroxide on the spill site, Allow 20 minutes of contact time. After 20 minutes use paper towels to remove the 6% hydrogen peroxide. See: spill cleanup.
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.