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Clin Lab Med. 2010 Mar;30(1):21-45. doi: 10.1016/j.cll.2009.11.001.

Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC).

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Clinical and Public Health Microbiology, St Paul, MN 55104, USA. <>


Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) are important enteric pathogens worldwide, causing diarrhea with or without blood visibly present and hemolytic uremic syndrome. STEC are unique among diarrheogenic E coli in producing Shiga toxin type 1 and type 2, the virulence factors responsible for bloody diarrhea and hemolytic uremic syndrome. Cattle and other ruminants are the natural reservoir of STEC as their normal intestinal flora. Humans become infected by consumption of foods contaminated with cattle feces. Early diagnosis of STEC infection is important because of the contraindication for treating STEC using antimicrobial agents, and the intense supportive care needed if renal failure occurs.

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