The bacteria are found in milk and dairy products, poultry, and mixed salads, although they can develop in any moist food that is not thoroughly cooked. The bacteria multiply rapidly at or above room temperature. A person gets sick after ingesting bacteria, and it only takes a few organisms to cause illness. The bacteria also may be found in contaminated bodies of water, or in food that has been left out in the open where flies can contaminate it. Dogs who eat infected human feces can spread the infection to humans (especially children), and the disease also can be spread sexually with anal-oral contact.

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