Escherichia coli O157:H7

Authored by: Patricia Elízaquível , Gloria Sánchez , Rosa Aznar

Manual of Security Sensitive Microbes and Toxins

Print publication date:  April  2014
Online publication date:  April  2014

Print ISBN: 9781466553965
eBook ISBN: 9781466553989
Adobe ISBN:


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Escherichia coli O157 was first reported in 1982 in outbreaks of severe bloody diarrhea in the United States. Such outbreaks increased dramatically and became widespread in the following years. In Europe, the first recognized outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 occurred in the United Kingdom in the summer of 1985, and further outbreaks and sporadic cases have been reported throughout Europe ever since. Nowadays, E. coli O157:H7 is an established human pathogen of great significance that accounts for an estimated 73,000 cases per year, 2,000 hospitalizations, and 60 deaths each year. 1 According to the cost list of foodborne illness in the United States, E. coli O157:H7 is ranked in sixth position, with an estimated cost of $993 million a year. 2 The pathogenicity of E. coli O157:H7 is primarily due to the bacterium’s ability to produce Shiga toxin that may cause hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a complication in which the red blood cells are destroyed and the kidneys fail.

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