Author(s): Paton AW, Paton JC
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Abstract Shiga toxigenic Escherichia coli (STEC) comprises a diverse group of organisms capable of causing severe gastrointestinal disease in humans. Within the STEC family, certain strains appear to be of greater virulence for humans, for example, those belonging to serogroups O111 and O157 and those with particular combinations of other putative virulence traits. We have developed two multiplex PCR assays for the detection and genetic characterization of STEC in cultures of feces or foodstuffs. Assay 1 utilizes four PCR primer pairs and detects the presence of stx1, stx2 (including variants of stx2), eaeA, and enterohemorrhagic E. coli hlyA, generating amplification products of 180, 255, 384, and 534 bp, respectively. Assay 2 uses two primer pairs specific for portions of the rfb (O-antigen-encoding) regions of E. coli serotypes O157 and O111, generating PCR products of 259 and 406 bp, respectively. The two assays were validated by testing 52 previously characterized STEC strains and observing 100\% agreement with previous results. Moreover, assay 2 did not give a false-positive O157 reaction with enteropathogenic E. coli strains belonging to clonally related serogroup O55. Assays 1 and 2 detected STEC of the appropriate genotype in primary fecal cultures from five patients with hemolytic-uremic syndrome and three with bloody diarrhea. Thirty-one other primary fecal cultures from patients without evidence of STEC infection were negative.
This article was published in J Clin Microbiol
and referenced in Advances in Molecular Diagnostics