The Brita filter can filter out microbial cysts, but it does not seem to filter out e. Coli. If you are filtering tap water, the small amounts of chlorine with which tap water is treated generally will kill e. Coli in the water (http://www.waterandhealth.org/food_surface/ecoli.php3). Brita filters will get rid of the vast majority of this chlorine, and other unsavory substances (heavy metals, etc.). Check out the first link below to see what Brita filters can do.
If you are not using tap water from a properly treated source, your best bet is to boil the water for ten minutes. Then you can filter it to remove things that affect water taste, but boiling will kill bacteria.
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