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Epidemiol Infect. 1989 Aug;103(1):73-81.

Phage-typing of Vero-cytotoxin (VT) producing Escherichia coli O157 isolated in the United Kingdom.

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Division of Enteric Pathogens, Central Public Health Laboratory, London.


Vero-cytotoxin (VT) producing Escherichia coli serogroup O157 have been isolated from patients with diarrhoea, haemorrhagic colitis (HC) and haemolytic uraemic syndrome (HUS). A phage-typing scheme developed in Canada has been used to type 155 VT+ E. coli O157 serogroup isolated from sporadic infections in the UK since 1983, and 48 strains from HC or HUS outbreaks. Twelve phage types were identified of which three, types 49, 51 and 52, have not been found in North America. All strains carried a 60 x 10(6) plasmid and most VT1+VT2+ strains also had a 5 x 10(6) plasmid coding for colicin D production. The majority of strains producing both VT1 and VT2 belonged to phage type 1, or the related types 4, 8 and 14. Most strains producing only VT2 belonged to types 2 or 49. Four outbreaks were included in the survey. Three had strains of a single phage type while strains from the fourth outbreak were more variable. The distribution of phage types throughout the UK showed no marked geographical variations.

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