A total of 600 isolates of Escherichia coli were isolated, over a 9 month period during 1984, from healthy human adults, raw sewage and the sewage-polluted River Tigris in Nineva. Over 90% of these organisms were E. coli type 1, but only 8.3% could be serogrouped as enteropathogenic E. coli. Resistance of these organisms to 11 antimicrobial drugs was assessed. Over 40% were antibiotic-resistant and of these 77.1% were resistant to more than one antibiotic. The minimal inhibitory concentration of ampicillin for 193 selected strains from the various sources was determined and ranged from <0.625- > 160 μg/ml. The high incidence of antibiotic-resistant E. coli in this locality and the possible implications to human health are discussed.