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J Pediatr. 1976 Jul;89(1):91-5.

Fulminant neonatal sepsis and necrotizing enterocolitis associated with a "nonenteropathogenic" strain of Escherichia coli.


During 1973 a nonendemic mucoid strain of Escherichia coli entered the nursery of a hospital in Houston. This organism caused septicemia and was associated with a high incidence of necrotizing enterocolitis. The illness was fulminant and characterized by apnea, abdominal distension, and shock. Diarrhea was not a feature of the symptom complex. The epidemic organism was nontypable. Assays for invasiveness, enterotoxin production, and Kl antigen were negative. Surveillance revealed a colonization rate of 14%, an attack rate in colonized infants of 19.5%, and a mortality rate of 87.5%. These data suggest that in certain instances the specific bowel flora may increase the incidence and severity of NEC.

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