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Vet Microbiol. 2002 Mar 1;85(2):169-82.

Prevalence of serogroups and virulence genes in Escherichia coli associated with postweaning diarrhoea and edema disease in pigs and a comparison of diagnostic approaches.

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Danish Veterinary Institute, B├╝lowsvej 27, DK-1790 V, Copenhagen, Denmark.


Identification of Escherichia coli causing porcine postweaning diarrhoea (PWD) or edema disease (ED) requires knowledge regarding the prevalent pathotypes within a given region. This study was undertaken to determine the present distribution of serogroups, hemolytic activity and virulence factor gene profiles among porcine pathogenic E. coli isolates in Denmark and to compare detection of these characteristics as diagnostic approaches. Five hundred and sixty-three E. coli were serogrouped using E. coli O-antisera and investigated for hemolytic activity. Of these, 219 isolates were further characterized using a 5'-nuclease PCR assay detecting genes for adhesion factors, enterotoxins and verocytotoxin 2e (VT2e). Forty-two different serogroups were found. The most prevalent serogroup was O149 accounting for 49.9% of all isolates, followed by O138 (14.9%), O139 (6.9%), O141 (4.1%) and O8 (3.7%). Hemolytic activity was detected in 87.7% of all isolates. Virulence factor genes detected were F4 (44.7%), F18 (39.3%), intimin (1.4%), F6 (0.9%), STb (77.6%), EAST1 (65.8%), LT (61.6%), STa (26.5%) and VT2e (16.4%). Six pathotypes accounted for 65.7% of all isolates investigated. Using possession of virulence factor genes as reference, O-serogrouping employing a selection of antisera representing common pig pathogenic serogroups and detection of hemolysis were evaluated as epidemiological markers for pathogenicity. Both criteria were associated with pathogenicity (P<0.001, for both), however, both methods also resulted in false classifications regarding pathogenicity for 11.9 and 13.2% of isolates, respectively. Detection of adhesion factor genes F4, F18 and intimin is suggested as an operational alternative when diagnosing PWD and ED.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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