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Front Biosci. 2003 Jan 1;8:e235-44.

Molecular epidemiology of Escherichia coli mediated urinary tract infections.

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Department of Epidemiology, University of Michigan School of Public Health, USA.


Urinary tract infection (UTI) is one of the most frequently acquired bacterial infections and Escherichia coli accounts for as many as 90% of all UTIs seen among ambulatory populations. Risk factors for UTIs include host behaviors, host characteristics and bacterial characteristics. Sexual activity and contraceptive method are the strongest determinant of a symptomatic UTI episode. The characteristics of cell receptors, anatomical differences and genetic predisposition in the host may be important determinants of increased risk for recurrent infections. Uropathogenic E. coli have special characteristics causing urovirulence. They most likely belong to phylogenic lineage B2. They usually possess specific adhesins such as P, S or Dr to facilitate their colonization in the urinary tract, and toxins such as hemolysin and cytotoxic necrotizing factor 1 to provoke inflammatory response that possibly are responsible for the development of UTI symptoms. Interestingly, virulence genes in uropathogenic E. coli are often co-located on pathogenicity islands. Currently, however, none of the known virulence genes or set of genes can clearly define the prototypic uropathogenic E. coli. Additional studies are needed to identify factors that promote uropathogen transmission and persistent colonization, and to investigate potential different modes of pathogenesis by E. coli strains with different compositions of virulence genes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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