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Mol Cell Probes. 1994 Aug;8(4):285-90.

Detection of shigellae, enteroinvasive and enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli using the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) in patients returning from tropical countries.

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Department of Medical Microbiology, University of Zürich, Switzerland.


We have used the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) to detect shigellae, EIEC and ETEC in stool specimens of diarrhoeic patients returning from tropical countries. As compared to culture (7.1% positive specimens), which recognizes only Shigella strains, PCR performed on bacterial growth from directly inoculated MacConkey agar plates and directed against virulence-associated genes present in both Shigella and EIEC was positive in 19.8% of the samples. We assumed that these additional positive results represent true rather than false positive samples because identical results for each single specimen were obtained using two different PCR systems and because positive results (culture as well as PCR) were exclusively found in patients with recent travel but not in those who acquired diarrhoea in a developed country where these organisms are not endemic. PCR detecting LT- and ST-specific sequences was positive in 18.5% of the patients with recent travel. Again no positive cases were identified in controls. Combining PCR and culture results, at least one bacterial pathogen was found in more than 50% of the patients with recent travel. We conclude that PCR is superior to culture methods for the detection of Shigella, EIEC and ETEC in travel-associated diarrhoea.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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