Escherichia Coli Infections Differential Diagnoses

  • Author: Tarun Madappa, MD, MPH; Chief Editor: Michael Stuart Bronze, MD  more...
Updated: Jan 11, 2016
Contributor Information and Disclosures

Tarun Madappa, MD, MPH Attending Physician, Department of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Christus Spohn-Shoreline Hospital

Tarun Madappa, MD, MPH is a member of the following medical societies: American College of Chest Physicians, American Thoracic Society

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.


Chi Hiong U Go, MD Assistant Professor, Department of Internal Medicine, Texas Tech University Health Science Center at Odessa

Chi Hiong U Go, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American College of Physicians-American Society of Internal Medicine

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Specialty Editor Board

Francisco Talavera, PharmD, PhD Adjunct Assistant Professor, University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Pharmacy; Editor-in-Chief, Medscape Drug Reference

Disclosure: Received salary from Medscape for employment. for: Medscape.

Charles V Sanders, MD Edgar Hull Professor and Chairman, Department of Internal Medicine, Professor of Microbiology, Immunology and Parasitology, Louisiana State University School of Medicine at New Orleans; Medical Director, Medicine Hospital Center, Charity Hospital and Medical Center of Louisiana at New Orleans; Consulting Staff, Ochsner Medical Center

Charles V Sanders, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American College of Physicians, Alliance for the Prudent Use of Antibiotics, The Foundation for AIDS Research, Southern Society for Clinical Investigation, Southwestern Association of Clinical Microbiology, Association of Professors of Medicine, Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology, American Clinical and Climatological Association, Infectious Disease Society for Obstetrics and Gynecology, Orleans Parish Medical Society, Southeastern Clinical Club, American Association for the Advancement of Science, Alpha Omega Alpha, American Association of University Professors, American Association for Physician Leadership, American Federation for Medical Research, American Geriatrics Society, American Lung Association, American Medical Association, American Society for Microbiology, American Thoracic Society, American Venereal Disease Association, Association of American Medical Colleges, Association of American Physicians, Infectious Diseases Society of America, Louisiana State Medical Society, Royal Society of Medicine, Sigma Xi, Society of General Internal Medicine, Southern Medical Association

Disclosure: Received royalty from Baxter International for other.

Chief Editor

Michael Stuart Bronze, MD David Ross Boyd Professor and Chairman, Department of Medicine, Stewart G Wolf Endowed Chair in Internal Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Oklahoma Health Science Center; Master of the American College of Physicians; Fellow, Infectious Diseases Society of America

Michael Stuart Bronze, MD is a member of the following medical societies: Alpha Omega Alpha, American Medical Association, Oklahoma State Medical Association, Southern Society for Clinical Investigation, Association of Professors of Medicine, American College of Physicians, Infectious Diseases Society of America

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Additional Contributors

Larry I Lutwick, MD Professor of Medicine, State University of New York Downstate Medical School; Director, Infectious Diseases, Veterans Affairs New York Harbor Health Care System, Brooklyn Campus

Larry I Lutwick, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American College of Physicians, Infectious Diseases Society of America

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.


The authors and editors of Medscape Reference gratefully acknowledge the contributions of previous author Eleftherios Mylonakis, MD, to the development and writing of this article.

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Escherichia coli liver abscess.
Escherichia coli right pyelonephritis.
Escherichia coli on Gram stain. Gram-negative bacilli.
Escherichia coli culture on MacConkey agar.
Table. Differential Diagnoses of E coli Infection
OrganismInd*UreaseMotilityGlu Ferm†Lact Ferm‡Sucr Ferm§Malt Ferm||Esc Hyd¶Hyd Sulf TSI#OxidaseOrn Dec**Lys Dec††
E coli+-++++/-+---+/-+
Klebsiella pneumoniae-+/--+++++---+
P mirabilis-+++----+-+-
Proteus vulgaris++++-+++/-+---
Pseudomonas aeruginosa-+/-++


Enterobacter aerogenes--++++++--++
Enterobacter cloacae--+++++---+-
Salmonella typhi--++--+-+--+
Citrobacter freundii+/--+++++-+/----
Serratia marcescens-+/-++-+++--++

†Glucose fermentation

‡Lactose fermentation

§Sucrose fermentation

||Maltose fermentation

¶Esculin hydrolysis

#Hydrogen sulfite on TSI

**Ornithine decarboxylase

††Lysine decarboxylase


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