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    E. coli, short for Escherichia coli, is a bacterium that can have both beneficial and harmful effects. In its good form, E. coli is naturally found in the intestines of humans and other animals, where it plays a vital role in digestion and helps prevent harmful bacteria from growing. Additionally, certain strains of E. coli are used in biotechnology and research laboratories to produce various substances, such as insulin and other proteins.

    However, some strains of E. coli can cause illness when ingested, leading to symptoms like diarrhea, abdominal pain, fever, and vomiting. These harmful strains, often acquired through contaminated food or water, are known as pathogenic E. coli. Examples of pathogenic E. coli include strains that produce toxins such as Shiga toxin, which can cause severe illness, particularly in young children and the elderly.

    So, while E. coli can be beneficial in certain contexts, it can also pose health risks if consumed in contaminated food or water. Therefore, it’s important to practice good hygiene and food safety measures to minimize the risk of illness associated with pathogenic E. coli.

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