A verocytotoxin-producing E. coli outbreak with a surprisingly high risk of haemolytic uraemic syndrome, Denmark, September-October 2012.

Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology, Statens Serum Institut, Copenhagen, Denmark.
Eurosurveillance: bulletin europeen sur les maladies transmissibles = European communicable disease bulletin (Impact Factor: 4.66). 01/2013; 18(2).
Source: PubMed
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    ABSTRACT: We have successfully developed a Loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) assay that could specifically detect generic Escherichia coli (E. coli). This assay was tested on 85 bacterial strains and successfully identified 54 E. coli strains (average threshold time, Tt = 21.26). The sensitivity of this assay was evaluated on serial dilutions of bacterial cultures and spiked faeces. The assay could detect 10(2) CFU/mL for bacterial culture with Tt = 33.30 while the detection limit for spiked faeces was 10(3) CFU/mL (Tt = 31.12). We have also detected 46 generic E. coli from 50 faecal samples obtained from indigenous individuals with 16% of the positive samples being verocytotoxin-producing E. coli (VTEC) positive. VT1/VT2 allele was present in one faecal sample while the ratio of VT1 to VT2 was 6 : 1. Overall, our study had demonstrated high risk of VTEC infection among the indigenous community and most of the asymptomatic infection occurred among those aged below 15 years. The role of asymptomatic human carriers as a source of dissemination should not be underestimated. Large scale screening of the VTEC infection among indigenous populations and the potential contamination sources will be possible and easy with the aid of this newly developed rapid and simple LAMP assay.
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    ABSTRACT: Shiga toxin (Stx) is one of the most potent bacterial toxins known. Stx is found in Shigella dysenteriae 1 and in some serogroups of Escherichia coli (called Stx1 in E. coli). In addition to or instead of Stx1, some E. coli strains produce a second type of Stx, Stx2, that has the same mode of action as Stx/Stx1 but that is antigenically distinct. Because subtypes of each toxin have been identified, the prototype toxin for each group is now designated Stx1a or Stx2a. The Stxs consist of two major subunits, an A subunit that joins noncovalently to a pentamer of five identical B subunits. The A subunit of the toxin injures the eukaryotic ribosome, and halts protein synthesis in target cells. The function of the B pentamer is to bind to the cellular receptor, globotriaosylceramide, Gb3, found primarily on endothelial cells. The Stxs traffic in a retrograde manner within the cell, such that the A subunit of the toxin reaches the cytosol only after the toxin moves from the endosome to the Golgi and then to the endoplasmic reticulum. In humans infected with Stx-producing E. coli (STEC), the most serious manifestation of the disease, the hemolytic uremic syndrome or HUS, is more often associated with strains that produce Stx2a rather than Stx1a, and that relative toxicity is replicated in mice and baboons. Stx1a and Stx2a also exhibit differences in cytotoxicity to various cell types, bind dissimilarly to receptor analogs or mimics, induce differential chemokine responses, and have several distinctive structural characteristics.
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