, Volume 23, Issue 1, pp 209-214
Date: 29 Dec 2013

Characterization of pathogenic Escherichia coli strains linked to an outbreak associated with kimchi consumption in South Korea, 2012

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Pathogenic Escherichia coli (PEc) is a leading cause of both foodborne and waterborne illness. In September 2012, a major foodborne outbreak with PEc occurred, affecting approximately 1,200 students and food handlers from 7 schools in Gyeonggi province, South Korea caused by contaminated kimchi. For detection of PEc in kimchi, real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and traditional culture methods were used. EAEC and ETEC genotypes were identified in samples from individuals with the illness and in kimchi using conventional PCR. Bacteria in stool samples were genetically similar to bacteria from kimchi (98% homology). PEc from kimchi was identified as the causative agent of a foodborne outbreak in South Korea. A significant link between kimchi and individuals with foodborne illnesses after consuming kimchi was demonstrated.