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J Clin Microbiol. 2012 Apr;50(4):1336-45. doi: 10.1128/JCM.05317-11. Epub 2012 Jan 11.

Incidence and virulence determinants of verocytotoxin-producing Escherichia coli infections in the Brussels-Capital Region, Belgium, in 2008-2010.

Author information

1
National Reference Center for VTEC/STEC, Department for Microbiology and Infection Control, Universitair Ziekenhuis Brussel, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Brussels, Belgium. gbuvens@vub.ac.be

Abstract

The incidence of verocytotoxin-producing Escherichia coli (VTEC) was investigated by PCR in all human stools from Universitair Ziekenhuis Brussel (UZB) and in selected stools from six other hospital laboratories in the Brussels-Capital Region, Belgium, collected between April 2008 and October 2010. The stools selected to be included in this study were those from patients with hemolytic-uremic syndrome (HUS), patients with a history of bloody diarrhea, patients linked to clusters of diarrhea, children up to the age of 6 years, and stools containing macroscopic blood. Verocytotoxin genes (vtx) were detected significantly more frequently in stools from patients with the selected conditions (2.04%) than in unselected stools from UZB (1.20%) (P = 0.001). VTEC was detected most frequently in patients with HUS (35.3%), a history of bloody diarrhea (5.15%), or stools containing macroscopic blood (1.85%). Stools from patients up to the age of 17 years were significantly more frequently vtx positive than those from adult patients between the ages of 18 and 65 years (P = 0.022). Although stools from patients older than 65 years were also more frequently positive for vtx than those from patients between 18 and 65 years, this trend was not significant. VTEC was isolated from 140 (67.9%) vtx-positive stools. One sample yielded two different serotypes; thus, 141 isolates could be characterized. Sixty different O:H serotypes harboring 85 different virulence profiles were identified. Serotypes O157:H7/H- (n = 34), O26:H11/H- (n = 21), O63:H6 (n = 8), O111:H8/H- (n = 7), and O146:H21/H- (n = 6) accounted for 53.9% of isolates. All O157 isolates carried vtx2, eae, and a complete O island 122 (COI-122); 15 also carried vtx1. Non-O157 isolates (n = 107), however, accounted for the bulk (75.9%) of isolates. Fifty-nine (55.1%) isolates were positive for vtx1, 36 (33.6%) were positive for vtx2, and 12 (11.2%) carried both vtx1 and vtx2. Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis revealed wide genetic diversity; however, small clusters of O157, O26, and O63:H6 VTEC that could have been part of unidentified outbreaks were identified. Antimicrobial resistance was observed in 63 (44.7%) isolates, and 34 (24.1%) showed multidrug resistance. Our data show that VTEC infections were not limited to patients with HUS or bloody diarrhea. Clinical laboratories should, therefore, screen all stools for O157 and non-O157 VTEC using selective media and a method for detecting verocytotoxins or vtx genes.

PMID:
22238434
PMCID:
PMC3318570
DOI:
10.1128/JCM.05317-11
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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