Adult Macaca radiata (n=22) were infected intragastrically with 10(12) Escherichia coli O157:H7 strain 84-01, which produces Shiga toxins 1 and 2. Clinical symptoms and bacterial excretion were documented in each monkey for a specified time period before they were killed. At necropsy, samples were obtained for culture and histologic and ultrastructural examination. Seventeen monkeys had diarrhea: E. coli O157 was isolated from postinfection stool samples from all monkeys and from autopsy cultures for 14 of 22 monkeys. Histologic examination showed attaching-effacing lesions, which appeared at 12 h and persisted for 7 days, in 12 monkeys. Widening of the intercellular spaces, degeneration and vacuolization of the epithelial cells, epithelial tufting, extrusion of epithelial cells, and neutrophilic infiltration were characteristic features seen in 20 of the 22 infected monkeys but not in 4 control monkeys. This monkey model closely parallels the early stages of the disease produced by E. coli O157:H7 and would be useful in the further study of pathogenic mechanisms and prevention methods in enterohemorrhagic E. coli infections.