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Characterization of a novel EAST‐negative enteropathogenic E. coli strain implicated in a food‐borne outbreak of diarrhoea in adults

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Enteropathogenic Escherichia coli (EPEC) is usually associated with outbreaks and sporadic cases of severe infantile diarrhoea in the developing world, and less commonly with sporadic cases in developed countries. Very little evidence indicates that EPEC is a food‐borne pathogen for adults. In a previous study, two groups of adult travellers became ill, and eae + E. coli of serogroup O111 was isolated from affected individuals and epidemiologically linked to food consumption. Here the strain responsible was further investigated and characterized as an unusual atypical EPEC. PCR analysis of the designated type isolate showed the presence of the rorf1 and espB genes of the LEE pathogenicity island, which was inserted at the chromosomal selC locus. The isolate was negative for the enteroaggregative E. coli EAST‐1 toxin present in other strains of EPEC associated with food‐borne outbreaks. The strain adhered sparsely to HEp‐2 cell monolayers in a diffuse manner, but fluorescent actin staining demonstrated that it was capable of inducing polymerization of actin at the sites of bacterial attachment. Strain P2583 is the first EAST‐negative EPEC to be confirmed as a cause of outbreaks of infection in adults following the consumption of contaminated food or water.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2013-06-01

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