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Epidemiol Infect. 2011 Jul;139(7):1097-104. doi: 10.1017/S0950268810002190. Epub 2010 Sep 28.

Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli O157 associated with human infections in Switzerland, 2000-2009.

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Institute for Food Safety and Hygiene, Vetsuisse Faculty, University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland.
Laboratory of Gastrointestinal Pathogens, GEZI (HPA Centre for Infections), London, UK.


Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC), an important foodborne pathogen, can cause mild to severe bloody diarrhoea (BD), sometimes followed by life-threatening complications such as haemolytic uraemic syndrome (HUS). A total of 44 O157 strains isolated from different patients from 2000 through 2009 in Switzerland were further characterized and linked to medical history data. Non-bloody diarrhoea was experienced by 15.9%, BD by 61.4% of the patients, and 29.5% developed HUS. All strains belonged to MLST type 11, were positive for stx2 variants (stx2 and/or stx2c), eae and ehxA, and only two strains showed antibiotic resistance. Of the 44 strains, nine phage types (PTs) were detected the most frequent being PT32 (43.2%) and PT8 (18.2%). By PFGE, 39 different patterns were found. This high genetic diversity within the strains leads to the conclusion that STEC O157 infections in Switzerland most often occur as sporadic cases.

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