Escherichia coli O157:H7: Overview of Clinical and Epidemiological Issues
Abstract:Escherichia coli O157:H7 is an important and common human pathogen which causes diarrhea, bloody diarrhea (hemorrhagic colitis) and the life threatening post-diarrheal disorder, hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). Escherichia coli O157:H7 produces one or two potent cytotoxins, designated Shiga-like toxins (or verocytotoxins) I and II. While additional serotypes of cytotoxin-producing E. coli may cause human disease, E. coli O157:H7 is the most important such enteric pathogen in the United States. Epidemiologic data suggest that the incidence of hemolytic uremic syndrome is probably increasing. Until data emerge from controlled studies, conservative management of infected patients remains the mainstay of therapy, rather than specific antibacterial or antitoxin therapy. The serious nature of illness caused by E. coli O157:H7 should make prevention of human infection with this pathogen a high priority for the food industry.
Document Type: Research Article
Affiliations: Department of Pediatrics, University of Washington, School of Medicine, Children's Hospital and Medical Center, 4800 Sand Point Way, N.E., Seattle, Washington 98105