Verocytotxin producing Escherichia coli (VTEC), and in particular, strains of serogroup o157, have emerged as significant pathogens causing a range of severe and potentially fatal illnesses. The European Union has recognised the threat posed by E. coli O157:H7 and the need to devise control strategies based on an understanding of VTEC pathogenicity, transmission, survival and growth. It also acknowledges the imortance of informing farmers, veterinarians, food producers and health authorities so that each of these groups can act appropriately to reduce the overall hazards posed by these organisms. To contribute to the development and dissemination of effect control strategies, the European Commission funded a Concerted Action Project "A European study on animal, food, and biomedical aspects of verocytotoxigenic E. coli including serotype O157:H7, an emerging pathogen" (CT98-3935) within the Agriculture and Agro-industry Framework IV Research Programme (1998-2001). This book, compiled under the auspices of the above project, integrates contributions from project participants and invited contributor, to provide a comprehensive overview of the current state of research on VTEC. It will be invaluable to current workers in this area, and those seeking an effective introduction to research on this important pathogen

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