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Verocytotoxigenic Escherichia coli O157:H7 is responsible for outbreaks worldwide, causing haemorrhagic colitis characterised by abdominal pain and bloody diarrhoea, and can lead to haemolytic uraemic syndrome (HUS) which can, in turn, result in kidney failure. Outbreaks are often linked to inadequately cooked or prepared meat and other foodstuffs. E. coli O157:H7 has also been responsible for a number of serious waterborne outbreaks2 including more than 2000 cases (with 7 deaths) in Walkerton, Canada in 2000. Previous work has shown E. coli O157:H7 to survive in potable water for extended periods of time4 and to be incorporated into associated biofilms.

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