Color enhanced light micrograph of Escherichia coli bacterium. E. coli bacteria are a normal part of the intestinal flora in humans and other animals, where they aid digestion. However, some strains, for instance E. coli O157, can produce a toxin that leads to severe illness, or even death. Normal strains can also produce infections in weakened or immunosuppressed people. Magnification 15,000x at 10 cm.