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J Clin Microbiol. Mar 1995; 33(3): 519–524.
PMCID: PMC227983

Direct detection of verotoxin-producing Escherichia coli in stool samples by PCR.

Abstract

A method for the rapid detection of verotoxin-producing Escherichia coli in stool samples by PCR was evaluated. Verotoxin-1 and verotoxin-2 genes in DNA extracted directly from stool samples were amplified with oligonucleotide primers. Stools spiked with control organisms, E. coli C600 (H19B) (verotoxin-1) or E. coli C600 (933W) (verotoxin-2), demonstrated that verotoxin-1-containing organisms could be detected at 10(2) CFU per 0.1 g of stool and verotoxin-2-containing organisms could be detected at 10(7) CFU per 0.1 g of stool. Testing of stool samples from patients with diarrhea showed a high concordance between PCR positivity and the presence of verotoxin-producing E. coli, determined by isolation of serotype O157:H7 on sorbitol-MacConkey medium (34 of 35 stool samples) or by colony blots with gene probes (19 of 21 stool samples). Conversely, only 1 of 20 (5.0%) stool samples that were O157:H7 culture negative and colony blot negative and that contained free verotoxin only was positive by PCR. As well, only 4 of 145 (2.8%) stool samples that were negative for serotype O157:H7 or free verotoxin were PCR positive. PCR of DNA extracted directly from stool samples provides a rapid method for the detection of stool samples containing verotoxin-producing E. coli compared with colony blot testing.

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Selected References

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