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Epidemiol Infect. 2000 Aug;125(1):47-54.

Investigation of human infections with verocytotoxin-producing strains of Escherichia coli (VTEC) belonging to serogroup O118 with evidence for zoonotic transmission.

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Department of Biological Safety, Robert Koch-Institute, Berlin, Germany.


Twenty verocytotoxigenic Escherichia coli (VTEC) O118 strains isolated between 1996 and 1998 from human patients in Germany were analysed for their serotypes, their virulence markers and their epidemiological relatedness. Three strains were typed as O118:H12, these carried only the VT2d-Ount variant gene and were not associated with diarrhoea or haemolytic uraemic syndrome (HUS). Seventeen strains were serotyped as O118:H16 or O118:non-motile (NM). These carried all the genes for VTI, eae and EHEC-haemolysin. The O118:H16/NM strains were from diarrhoea (13 cases) and HUS (2 cases). Sixteen of the patients were young infants and most infections were associated with a rural environment. Evidence for zoonotic transmission from cattle to humans was found in two cases. The epidemiological relationship between the human and bovine O118:H16/NM isolates was indicated by homogeneous plasmid patterns and by very similar XbaI restriction patterns obtained by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis. VTEC O118:H16/NM are emerging pathogens in Germany and should be classified as new enterohaemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC) types.

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