Escherichia coli O121

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Escherichia coli O121 is a serotype of Escherichia coli, a species of bacteria that lives in the lower intestines of mammals.[1] The presence of many serotypes of E. coli in animals is beneficial or does not cause disease. However, E. coli O121 has been recognized as a potential disease-causing serotype of bacteria. Unlike Escherichia coli O157:H7, another pathogenic serotype of E. coli, little is known about the public health significance of O121.

Escherichia coli O121 is also known as a type of "non-O157 Shiga toxin-producing E. coli" or "non-O157 STEC". A U.S. outbreak of E. coli O121 has sickened 24 people in 15 states (Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Mississippi, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin), according to a statement released by the CDC. New York officials found the bacterium strain in an open package of Farm Rich brand chicken quesadillas from an ill person's home; parent company Rich Products Corp. of Buffalo, New York is now recalling these and several other items and the CDC, USDA, and FDA are now investigating to find the precise source of the outbreak. This form of E. coli causes intestinal bleeding, or hemorrhage (enterohemorrhagic E. coli), like the better known O157 strain, but not as much is known about it. Both types, especially if not treated, can go on to cause hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), which in some cases can lead to renal (kidney) failure.[2]

In 2016 General Mills recalled 10 million pounds of wheat flour tied to an E. coli O121 outbreak.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Laboratory-Confirmed Non-O157 Shiga Toxin Producing E. Coli". Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved March 16, 2007. 
  2. ^ Reuters (March 31, 2013). "E. coli outbreak sickens 24 in 15 states". Chicago Tribune. 
  3. ^ Elizabeth Weise (May 31, 2016). "General Mills recalls 10 million pounds of flour". USA Today. Retrieved June 1, 2016.