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Isolation and Characterization of Escherichia coli O157:H7 from Retail Meats in Argentina

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Between February and May 2000, 279 meat samples were collected from 136 retail stores in GualeguaychúCity, Argentina. Samples were assayed for Escherichia coli O157:H7 by selective enrichment in modified EC broth containing novobiocin, followed by immunomagnetic separation (IMS) and plating onto both sorbitol MacConkey agar supplemented with cefixime and potassium tellurite and a chromogenic medium. Eleven E. coli O157:H7 isolates were detected in 6 (3.8%) of 160 ground beef samples, in 4 (4.8%) of 83 fresh sausages, and in 1 (3.3%) of 30 dry sausages. E. coli O157:H7 was not isolated from five hamburger patties or one barbecue-type fresh sausage assayed. The isolates were tested for virulence-related genes. Ten additional Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) O157:H7 isolates of food origin, recovered from different locations in Argentina, were included for comparison purposes. All 21 isolates harbored both eae and EHEC-hlyA genes, and 12 (57.1%) encoded stx2/stx2vh-a. The isolates were of phage types 87 (seven strains), 14 (four strains), 4 (three strains), and 26 (one strain). Six strains were nontypable by phage typing. Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) revealed 19 XbaI-PFGE profiles. Fifteen (71%) strains were grouped in four clusters, which shared more than 80% of DNA restriction fragments. The enrichment culture method with IMS was a sensitive procedure to detect E. coli O157:H7 strains in retail meats. Some of the isolates from different stores presented a high clonal relatedness, as determined by XbaI-PFGE and phage typing, and harbored the virulence factors associated with human illness.


Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Servicio Fisiopatogenia, Instituto Nacional de Enfermedades Infecciosas—ANLIS ''Carlos G. Malbrán,'' Ministerio de Salud. Av. Vélez Sarsfield 563, (1281) Buenos Aires, Argentina 2: Cátedra de Microbiología, Facultad de Bromatología, Universidad Nacional de Entre Ríos. Perón 64 (2820), Gualeguaychú, Entre Ríos, Argentina 3: Servicio Fisiopatogenia, Instituto Nacional de Enfermedades Infecciosas—ANLIS ''Carlos G. Malbrán,'' Ministerio de Salud. Av. Vélez Sarsfield 563, (1281) Buenos Aires, Argentina

Publication date: September 1, 2001

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