Enterobacteria are bacteria from the family Enterobacteriaceae, which are primarily known for their ability to cause intestinal upset. Enterobacteria are responsible for a variety of human illnesses, including urinary tract infections, wound infections, gastroenteritis, meningitis, septicemia, and pneumonia. Some are true intestinal pathogens; whereas others are merely opportunistic pests which attack weakened victims.
Most enterobacteria reside normally in the large intestine, but others are introduced in contaminated or improperly prepared foods or beverages. Several enterobacterial diseases are spread by fecal-oral transmission and are associated with poor hygienic conditions. Countries with poor water decontamination have more illness and death from enterobacterial infection. Harmless bacteria, though, can cause diarrhea in tourists who are not used to a geographically specific bacterial strain. Enterobacterial gastroenteritis can cause extensive fluid loss through vomiting and diarrhea, leading to dehydration.