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Characteristics of Escherichia coli strains belonging to enteropathogenic E. coli serogroups isolated in Italy from children with diarrhea.

By A Giammanco, M Maggio, G Giammanco, R Morelli, F Minelli, F Scheutz and A Caprioli


Fifty-five Escherichia coli strains belonging to enteropathogenic E. coli (EPEC) serogroups were examined for phenotypic and genetic factors associated with virulence. The strains were isolated in Italy from children with diarrhea and identified as EPEC by clinical laboratories using commercially available antisera. O:H serotyping showed that 35 strains (27 of O26, O111, and O128 serogroups) belonged to 11 serotypes considered to be classical EPEC O:H serotypes. The other 20 isolates were classified as 15 nonclassical EPEC O:H serotypes. All the potential EPEC virulence factors associated with bacterial adhesion (localized adherence, fluorescentactin staining test positivity, presence of the attaching and effacing [eaeA] gene), the production of verotoxin, and the positivity with the enterohemorrhagic E. coli probe were significantly more frequent among isolates belonging to classical than nonclassical serotypes. Strains displaying an aggregative adhesion and hybridizing with the enteroaggregative DNA probe were found in serogroups O86, O111, and O126. Verotoxin-producing isolates belonged to serogroups O26, O111, and O128. Only one of the isolates hybridized with the EPEC adherence factor (EAF) probe, but 33 strains gave positive results with the eae probe, confirming that the former is more suitable in epidemiological studies in European countries. These results indicate that up to 75% of strains identified as EPEC by commercial antisera may possess potential virulence properties and/or belong to classical EPEC O:H serotypes and suggest that O grouping is still a useful diagnostic tool for presumptive identification of diarrheagenic E. coli in clinical laboratories

Topics: Research Article
Year: 1996
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Provided by: PubMed Central
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