Prevalence and geographical distribution of Escherichia coli O157 in India: a 10-year survey
Escherichia coli colonizes the human gastrointestinal tract and produces a variety of diseases. Escherichia coli O157 is one of the most important pathogenic strains reported from food-borne illnesses leading to enterohemorrhagic colitis. The National Salmonella and Escherichia Centre is a national reference centre for Salmonella and Escherichia for India; it receives samples from research laboratories, hospitals and institutions for serological identification. The present study is an epidemiological survey of E. coli O157 in different regions of India. The data are based on samples received from humans, food items, animals and the environment. A total of 17 093 isolates cultured from samples were received during the 10-year period of which 5678 were from human sources. Thirty (0.5%) human samples were positive for E. coli O157. A significantly high percentage of E. coli O157 were isolated from meat (0.9%, 13/1376), milk and milk products (1.8%, 10/553), seafood (8.4%, 16/190) and water (1.6%, 8/486). The isolates were found to be distributed among domestic and wild animals, and the maximum number of isolates of E. coli O157 was detected in samples received from coastal belt areas. Escherichia coli O157 is widely distributed among humans and animals, food and environment in different geographical regions of India.
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