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Int J Med Microbiol. 2005 Oct;295(6-7):443-54.

Enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli in veterinary medicine.

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Veterinary Medical Research Institute of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Hungária krt. 21, H-1143 Budapest, Hungary.


Enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC) infection is the most common type of colibacillosis of young animals (primarily pigs and calves), and it is a significant cause of diarrhoea among travellers and children in the developing world. The main virulence attributes of ETEC are adhesins and enterotoxins, which are mostly regulated on large plasmids. Almost all ETEC bacteria are known to adhere to receptors on the small intestinal epithelium by their proteinaceous surface appendages (fimbriae, pili) or by afimbrial proteins without inducing significant morphological changes. Furthermore, they secrete protein toxins (enterotoxins) to reduce absorption and to increase fluid and electrolyte secretion of small intestinal epithelial cells. Regarding details of epidemiology, pathogenesis, diagnosis and prevention of ETEC infections and diarrhoea in animals, readers are referred to an earlier more extensive review [Nagy and Fekete, 1999. Enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC) in farm animals. Vet. Res. 30, 259-284]. This paper intends to summarise our basic knowledge and to highlight the new developments and most actual research topics in the area of ETEC infections in veterinary medicine. Attention is paid to recently described new virulence factors and to new genetic vectors in ETEC bacteria. Applications of our knowledge in the diagnosis and prevention of ETEC diarrhoea in animals will also be discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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