Escherichia coli (E. coli): guidance, data and analysis

The characteristics, diagnosis, management, surveillance and epidemiology of Escherichia coli (E. coli).

Escherichia coli (E. coli) bacteria are frequently found in the intestines of humans and animals. There are many different types of E. coli, and while some live in the intestine quite harmlessly, others may cause a variety of diseases.

The bacterium is found in faeces and can survive in the environment. E. coli bacteria can cause a range of infections including urinary tract infection, cystitis (infection of the bladder), and intestinal infection. E. coli bacteraemia (blood stream infection) may be caused by primary infections spreading to the blood.

For guidance on E. coli O157 or VTEC see Vero cytotoxin-producing Escherichia coli (VTEC): guidance, data and analysis.

Diagnosis and management

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Enhanced surveillance of E. coli bacteraemia has been mandatory for NHS acute trusts since June 2011. Patient data of any E. coli bacteraemias are reported monthly to UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA). Independent sector healthcare organisations providing regulated activities have also undertaken surveillance of E. coli bacteraemia since June 2011.

The government launched an initiative in April 2017, to reduce Gram-negative infections by 50% by 2021. Read NHS Improvement’s plans to reduce these infections.

In response to this, some of our mandatory surveillance publications will change from October 2017. See Gram-negative bacteraemia infections updates on the HCAI Data Capture System (DSC) Help and Support page for details.

Official statistics compliance

We produce Healthcare associated infections (HCAI) mandatory surveillance statistics publications in accordance with the code of practice for official statistics and they are designated as National Statistics. The data-specific documents below describe our compliance with aspects of the Code.

User engagement

The stakeholder engagement summary collates evidence from mandatory HCAI surveillance statistics users and provides:

  • a summary of how the statistics are used
  • views on how provision of the statistics meets the needs of users
  • our actions in response to user feedback

We will update this document as we receive further user feedback.

Read minutes of the HCAI Mandatory Surveillance Stakeholder Engagement Forum.

Updates to this page

Published 10 August 2014
Last updated 4 October 2017 + show all updates
  1. Added monthly E.coli bacteraemia data split by location of onset.

  2. Added notification about a change to some of our mandatory surveillance publications from October 2017.

  3. Updated with links to the 6 June 2016 meeting.

  4. Added MRSA, MSSA and E. coli bacteraemia and C. difficile infection: 30 day all-cause fatality to collection.

  5. First published.