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Med Microbiol Immunol. 1994 Feb;183(1):13-21.

Virulence factors and phenotypical traits of verotoxigenic strains of Escherichia coli isolated from human patients in Germany.

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Department of Microbiology, Robert Koch-Institut, Berlin, Germany.


Fecal isolates of Escherichia coli which were collected from human patients in different parts of Germany between 1985 and 1992 were examined for production of verotoxins (VT). Among 2165 isolates 54 (2.5%) verotoxigenic E. coli (VTEC) were found. The 54 VTEC belonged to 13 different serotypes, 46 (85.2%) of these were enterohemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC) types as O157:H7, O157:H-, O145:H-, O111:[H8] and O26:[H11]. Of the 54 VTEC 50 (92.6%) hybridized with one or both of the DNA probes specific for VT1 and VT2. The 4 VTEC strains which were negative for VT1 and VT2 differed from all other VTEC by many phenotypical trains such as serotype, production of alpha-hemolysin and absence of EHEC-plasmid and "attaching and effacing" (eae)-specific DNA sequences. In contrast, VTEC which were positive for VT1, VT2 or both were frequently positive for eae sequences (92.0%), EHEC-plasmids (90.0%) and for production of enterohemolysin (88.0%). With enterohemolysin as an epidemiological marker more VTEC strains (81.5%) could be identified than with others such as the absence of beta-glucuronidase activity (61.1%) or non-fermentation of sorbitol (48.1%). Case reports were available for 42 of the 54 VTEC strains. The clinical presentation of 42 cases with VTEC ranged from uncomplicated diarrhea to severe diseases as hemorrhagic colitis (HC) and hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). However, bloody diarrhea, HC and HUS were more associated with the O157 group than with other VTEC groups.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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