Virulence profiles of Shiga toxin 2e-producing Escherichia coli isolated from healthy pig at slaughter.Vet Microbiol. 2006 Oct 31; 117(2-4):328-32.VM
Recently, virulence patterns of Stx2e-producing Escherichia coli from pigs with edema disease and from humans were compared and strains from diseased pigs were reported to be unlikely human pathogens [Sonntag, A.K., Bielaszewska, M., Mellmann, A., Dierksen, N., Schierack, P., Wieler, L.H., Schmidt, M.A., Karch, H., 2005. Shiga toxin 2e-producing Escherichia coli isolates from humans and pigs differ in their virulence profiles and interactions with intestinal epithelial cells. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 71, 8855-8863]. In the present study, 31 Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) strains harboring stx2e, which were previously isolated out of fecal samples from healthy pigs at slaughter [Kaufmann, M., Zweifel, C., Blanco, M., Blanco, J.E., Blanco, J., Beutin, L., Stephan, R., 2006. Escherichia coli O157 and non-O157 Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli in fecal samples of finished pigs at slaughter in Switzerland. J. Food Prot. 69, 260-266], were characterized by phenotypic and genotypic traits. Nine of the thirty-one sorbitol-positive non-O157 STEC (stx2e) isolated from healthy pigs belonged to serotypes found in STEC isolated from humans, including two serotypes (O9:H-, O26:H-) reported in association with hemolytic-uremic syndrome. Otherwise, the serotypes were different from those isolated from cases of edema disease in pigs. The eae (intimin) gene, which is strongly correlated with severe human disease, was not detected. Moreover, all strains were lacking the genes for enterohemolysin (ehxA), porcine A/E associated protein (paa), STEC autoagglutinating adhesin (saa) and the serin protease EspI (espI). Nine strains tested positive for astA (EAST1), one O141:H17 strain for fedA (F18 fimbrial adhesin) and one O159:H- strain for terF (tellurite resistance). Similar to the Stx2e-producing E. coli isolated from humans, which are mainly lacking further virulence factors, genes of an iron uptake system on the high-pathogenicity island (irp2, fyuA) were detected in three ONT:H10 and ONT:H19 strains from healthy pigs. Consequently, although the isolated strains are unlikely to be associated with severe human diseases, healthy pigs cannot be excluded as a potential source of human infection with Stx2e-producing STEC.