Escherichia coli

(ee-sure-eek-ee-uh koh-lie)
About This nanobug

Nickname: E. coli


Morphology: Gram-negative rod


Habitat: Lives in the intestines of humans and animals; widely distributed in the environment


Disease or illness: In the bowel it helps with digestion of food and generally does not cause disease. It can cause bladder infections especially in women. It may be used as an indicator of fecal contamination in drinking water.


Who is at risk: Women or girls who wipe back-to-front after using the toilet are at risk for urinary tract infection from E. coli.


Avoidance techniques: Practice good hygiene; wash hands, especially after using the toilet. Women and girls should wipe themselves from front-to-back or “dab” with toilet paper after using the toilet.


“You may think I’m foul ‘cause I live in the bowel.”