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Int J Med Microbiol. 2005 Apr;295(1):29-38.

Diversity of virulence patterns among shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli from human clinical cases-need for more detailed diagnostics.

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Robert Koch-Institut, Burgstrasse 37, D-38855 Wernigerode, Germany.


Intestinal infections due to shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli bacteria (STEC) reveal a broad range of clinical symptoms and a large scale of virulence properties of the respective pathogens. The question whether all STEC variants or only a particular group of them need to be considered for clinical and epidemiological purposes was answered throughout this study. Using the PCR technique for the identification of 25 different virulence-associated genes, 266 E. coli strains belonging to 81 different E. coli serotypes from various clinical origins were investigated. A great genetic diversity of the virulence properties and a broad range of virulence marker combinations have been identified. However, distinct virulence marker combinations (e.g. Stx2/LEE/pO157 as well as Stx2dac/pO113) were found to be associated with the same notified clinical symptoms (e.g. HUS). Such an association speaks either for the "shiga toxin-only concept" or for several redundant, but clinically or epidemiologically important virulence properties.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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