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Br J Biomed Sci. 2002;59(2):123-7.

Enteropathogenic Escherichia coli infection: history and clinical aspects.

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Scottish Meningococcus and Pneumococcus Reference Laboratory, Stobhill Hospital, Glasgow, UK.


Diarrhoeagenic Escherichia coli remains an important cause of diarrhoeal disease worldwide. In terms of global public health, enteropathogenic E. coli (EPEC) and enterotoxigenic E. coli are the most important. However, enterohaemorrhagic E. coli has emerged as a cause of disease in developed countries in recent years, and a number of large outbreaks have been reported. Therefore, the importance of research into diarrhoeagenic E. coli remains an important issue. EPEC is the most widespread of the diarrhoeagenic E. coli and provides a good virulence model for other E. coli infections, as well as other pathogenic bacteria. Although the virulence mechanisms of E. coli are now better understood, there remains much to be learned before effective treatments can be developed. Type III secretion mechanisms, the locus of enterocyte effacement and various toxins are all involved in the pathogenesis of the various diarrhoeagenic E. coli and may provide targets for future therapies. This review aims to provide an update on the worldwide problem of diarrhoeagenic E. coli by focusing on EPEC, and describes the history of the organism, its incidence and the clinical aspects of infection.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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