Characterization of enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli O111 and O157 strains isolated from outbreak patients in Japan.J Clin Microbiol. 2014 Aug; 52(8):2757-63.JC
In April and May 2011, there was a serious food-poisoning outbreak in Japan caused by enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC) strains O111:H8 and O157:H7 from raw beef dishes at branches of a barbecue restaurant. This outbreak involved 181 infected patients, including 34 hemolytic-uremic syndrome (HUS) cases (19%). Among the 34 HUS patients, 21 developed acute encephalopathy (AE) and 5 died. Patient stool specimens yielded E. coli O111 and O157 strains. We also detected both EHEC O111 stx2 and stx-negative E. coli O111 strains in a stock of meat block from the restaurant. Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) and multilocus variable-number tandem-repeat analysis (MLVA) showed that the stx-negative E. coli O111 isolates were closely related to EHEC O111 stx2 isolates. Although the EHEC O157 strains had diverse stx gene profiles (stx1, stx2, and stx1 stx2), the PFGE and MLVA analyses indicated that these isolates originated from a single clone. Deletion of the Stx2-converting prophage from the EHEC O111 stx2 isolates was frequently observed during in vitro growth, suggesting that strain conversion from an EHEC O111 stx2 to an stx-negative strain may have occurred during infection.