E. coli: Escherichia coli 0157:H7, E. coli 0157:H7 (cont.)
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Other enterohemorrhagic E. coli strains (for example, 0145, 026:H11)
Most enterohemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC or STEC) infections were thought to be variants of strain 0157:H7, however, enterohemorrhagic serotypes are not limited to the 0157:H7 serotype. Apparently, many other serotypes such as 0145 can acquire the plasmid that is responsible for the synthesis of Shiga (Vero) toxin and thus can produce almost identical symptoms produced by 0157:H7 in infected humans. Consequently, these other E. coli serotypes can cause outbreaks of bloody diarrhea with hemorrhagic colitis that can become complicated by hemolytic uremia. In 2012, strain 0145 has caused at least 14 hospitalizations and one infant death to date.
Although EHEC strains can be transmitted person to person and on or in contaminated food, the source for the 0145 strain outbreak that has occurred in six states to date (California, Louisiana, Alabama, Florida, Georgia and Tennessee) has not yet been identified by the CDC. These other E. coli serotypes produce essentially the same type of disease as 0157:H7 and are diagnosed and treated in the same manner. Consequently, the following sections use 0157:H7 as the prototypic EHEC. For all practical purposes, 0157:H7 represents all the other EHEC serotypes.
Bhupinder Anand, MD
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