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Int J Med Microbiol. 2005 Oct;295(6-7):373-81.

Molecular epidemiology of Escherichia coli causing neonatal meningitis.

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Laboratoire d'études de génétique bactérienne dans les infections de l'enfant (EA3105), Université Denis Diderot-Paris 7, Service de Microbiologie, Hôpital Robert Debré (AP-HP), Paris, France.


Escherichia coli is the second cause of neonatal meningitis which is a major cause of neonatal mortality and is associated with a high incidence of neurological sequelae. E. coli neonatal meningitis (ECNM) strains, as other extraintestinal pathogenic E. coli, mainly belong to the phylogenetic group B2 and to a lesser extent to group D, but are distributed in fewer clonal groups. One of these, the O18:K1:H7 clone is worldwide distributed meanwhile others such as O83:K1 and O45:K1 are restricted to some countries. Over the past few years, major progress has been made in the understanding of the pathophysiology of E. coli O18:K1:H7 neonatal meningitis. In particular, specific virulence factors have been identified and are known to be carried by ectochromosomal DNA in most cases. Molecular epidemiological studies, including characterization of virulence genotypes and phylogenetic analysis are important to lead to a comprehensive picture of the origins and spread of virulence factors within the population of ECNM strains. To date, all the known genetic determinants obtained in ECNM strains are not sufficient to explain their virulence in their globality and further studies on clonal groups different from the archetypal O18:K1:H7 clone are needed. These studies would serve to find common pathogenic mechanisms among different ECNM clonal groups that may be used as potential target for a worldwide efficacious prevention strategy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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