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Vet Microbiol. 2013 Oct 25;166(3-4):676-80. doi: 10.1016/j.vetmic.2013.07.007. Epub 2013 Jul 24.

Detection of diarrheagenic Escherichia coli strains isolated from dogs and cats in Brazil.

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Department of Microbiology, Center of Sciences Biological, Universidade Estadual de Londrina, Londrina, Paraná, Brazil.


Escherichia coli are gut microbiota bacteria that can cause disease in some humans and other animals, including dogs and cats that humans often keep as pets. Diarrheagenic E. coli (DEC) strains are classified into six categories: enteropathogenic (EPEC), enterotoxigenic (ETEC), Shiga toxin-producing (STEC), enteroinvasive (EIEC), enteroaggregative (EAEC), and diffuse-adhering E. coli (DAEC). In this study 144 and 163 E. coli colonies were isolated from the fecal samples of 50 dogs and 50 cats, respectively, with and without diarrhea from a Veterinary Hospital (clinical isolates). The virulence factors were determined using multiplex Polymerase Chain Reaction. Adherence assays, antibacterial susceptibility and serotyping (somatic or flagellar antigens) were performed on DEC isolates. We found 25 (17.4%) and 4 (2.5%) DEC strains isolated from dogs and cats, respectively. Only the EPEC and EAEC pathotypes were found in both animals. Meanwhile, genes from other pathotypes (STEC, EIEC, and ETEC) were not found in these clinical isolates. All of the DEC strains showed mannose-resistant adherence to HEp-2 and HeLa cells, and aggregative adherence was predominant in these isolates. Multiresistant strains to antimicrobials were found in most DEC strains including usual and unusual antimicrobials in veterinary practices. The serotypes of these DEC isolates were variable. The ONT serotype was predominant in these isolates. Some serotypes found in our study were described to human DEC. Here, we demonstrate that pets carry virulent DEC genes, which are mainly strains of EPECs and EAECs. The presence of these virulence factors in isolates from animals without diarrhea suggests that pets can act as a reservoir for human infection.


Animals; Diarrhea; Escherichia coli; Pets; Virulence factors; Zoonosis

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