In addition to the better-known E. coli O157:H7, the group includes E. coli O26, O45, O111, O121, O130 and O145.

Officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that as much as one-third of infections are caused by these other strains.

These strains are known scientifically as Shiga toxin-producing E. coli because they have the traits of one or both Shiga toxins.

Although some outbreaks of these nasty strains have been linked to fruits and vegetables, they are nearly always traced to warm-blooded animals, including birds, that have passed over or through farms.

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