- A strain of the gut bacteria, Escherichia coli, found in hamburger-type minced beef which has picked up toxin-producing genes from Shigella. These toxins can destroy gut and kidney cells, leading to diarrhoea and kidney failure. The incubation period is 3 to 4 days. Common in the USA, and has occurred in Europe, Africa, Australia and Japan. The organism is killed by a temperature of 70°C for 2 minutes.