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Eur J Clin Microbiol Infect Dis. 2008 Mar;27(3):227-32. Epub 2007 Dec 11.

Relationship between pathogenicity for humans and stx genotype in Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli serotype O157.

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Miyazaki Prefectural Institute for Public Health and Environment, Gakuen Kibanadai Nishi 2-3-2, Miyazaki 889-2155, Japan.


To examine the reason why people infected with Shiga toxin (Stx) producing Escherichia coli (STEC) O157 strains develop varying clinical manifestations, 65 STEC O157 isolates originating from 64 different occurrences of infection in Miyazaki Prefecture in 2001-2003 and their 79 infected individuals were analyzed by stx genotyping, quantitative analysis of reversed passive latex agglutination (RPLA), genomic DNA analysis using pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE), and clinical manifestations. The isolates were found to carry the following stx genes: stx2vha alone (60.0%), stx1/stx2 (27.7%), stx1/stx2vha (6.1%), stx2 alone (3.1%), and stx2/stx2vha (3.1%). No strain carried the stx1 gene alone. STEC strains carrying stx2 were more frequently associated with clinical manifestations of hemolytic-uremic syndrome (HUS) or bloody diarrhea than those carrying stx2vha. Clusters of PFGE banding patterns were correlated well with the stx genotypes. We conclude that stx genotype is one of the important factors of clinical outcome of STEC O157 infection and that pathogenicity for humans was higher in the stx2 genotype strains than in the stx2vha genotype strains, as reported previously by other researchers. Further, we newly found that four clusters identified by PFGE using restriction enzyme XbaI, stx genotypes and clinical manifestations were well correlated with each other.

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