Non-O157:H7 Shiga Toxin Producing Diarrhoeagenic Escherichia coli (Stec ) in Southern India: A Tinderbox for Starting Epidemic DC11-DC15
Dr. Shashank Purwar,
Department of Microbiology, All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) Bhopal, (M.P.), India.
Introduction: Outbreaks due to non-O157:H7 Shiga toxin producing Escherichia coli (STEC) resulting in Haemolytic Uraemic Syndrome (HUS) have garnered much attention because of associated mortality transcending across continents and also because diarrhoea due to E.coli itself is rare in developed countries. The actual incidence of non-O157:H7 STEC in sporadic acute diarrhoea is not fully elucidated, both in developing as well as in developed countries. Due to larger extent of faecal-oral transmission in developing countries it is prudent to look for non-O157: H7 STEC in such epidemiological settings because of very high potential to spread across larger geographical regions and cause life threatening illness.
Aim: To determine the extent of acute diarrhoea caused by Shiga toxin producing E. coli and measure their genotypic diversity.
Materials and Methods: The study was designed as a cross-sectional study and conducted between 2009-2011 in department of Microbiology at JN Medical College Belgaum (Karnataka) and Regional Medical Research Center, Belgaum (RMRC-ICMR). Stool samples from 300 sporadic cases of acute diarrhoea were processed by microscopy, culture, for the identification of diarrhoeagenic pathogens viz. Vibrio cholera, Shigella spp., Salmonella spp. and protozoan parasites. PCR was performed for the detection of eae and stx genes in E. coli isolates. Their relatedness was determined by Random Amplification of Polymorphic DNA (RAPD).
Results: PCR detected stx along with eae in 23.2% culture isolates of E.coli isolated from diarrhoea samples. Only three isolates were identified as STEC by serology as O59, O60 and O69 serotypes. Eleven clones were detected by RAPD fingerprinting in the 46 STEC isolates.
Conclusion: Non-O157:H7 STEC are prevalent in this region and laboratories shall look beyond O157:H7 serotype of E.coli. These isolates have potential of causing outbreaks transcending borders. Hence they shall be reported and efforts be made to identify their sources and prevent spread.