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J Clin Microbiol. 2003 Nov;41(11):4930-40.

Association of genomic O island 122 of Escherichia coli EDL 933 with verocytotoxin-producing Escherichia coli seropathotypes that are linked to epidemic and/or serious disease.

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  • 1Laboratory for Foodborne Zoonoses, Population and Public Health Branch, Health Canada, Guelph, Ontario, Canada.


The distribution of EDL 933 O island 122 (OI-122) was investigated in 70 strains of Verocytotoxin-producing Escherichia coli (VTEC) of multiple serotypes that were classified into five "seropathotypes" (A through E) based on the reported occurrence of serotypes in human disease, in outbreaks, and/or in the hemolytic-uremic syndrome (HUS). Seropathotype A comprised 10 serotype O157:H7 and 3 serotype O157:NM strains. Seropathotype B (associated with outbreaks and HUS but less commonly than serotype O157:H7) comprised three strains each of serotypes O26:H11, O103:H2, O111:NM, O121:H19, and O145:NM. Seropathotype C comprised four strains each of serotypes O91:H21 and O113:H21 and eight strains of other serotypes that have been associated with sporadic HUS but not typically with outbreaks. Seropathotype D comprised 14 strains of serotypes that have been associated with diarrhea but not with outbreaks or HUS, and seropathotype E comprised animal VTEC strains of serotypes not implicated in human disease. All strains were tested for four EDL 933 OI-122 virulence genes (Z4321, Z4326, Z4332, and Z4333) by PCR. Negative PCRs were confirmed by Southern hybridization. Overall, 28 (40%) strains contained OI-122 (positive for all four virulence genes), 27 (38.6%) contained an "incomplete" OI-122 (positive for one to three genes), and 15 (21.4%) strains did not contain OI-122. The seropathotype distribution of complete OI-122 was as follows: 100% for seropathotype A, 60% for B, 36% for C, 15% for D, and 0% for E. The differences in the frequency of OI-122 between seropathotypes A, B, and C (associated with HUS) and seropathotypes D and E (not associated with HUS) and between seropathotypes A and B (associated with epidemic disease) and seropathotypes C, D, and E (not associated with epidemic disease) were highly significant (P < 0.0001).

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