, Volume 15, Issue 1, pp 4-9,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 05 Dec 2012

Lessons Learned From Outbreaks of Shiga Toxin Producing Escherichia coli

Abstract

In 2011, a large outbreak caused by a Shiga toxin producing E. coli (STEC) occurred in Northern Germany, with a satellite outbreak in Western France, including the highest number of hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) cases ever encountered during a STEC outbreak. The outbreak strain was characterized as an enteroaggregative E. coli of serotype O104:H4 expressing a phage-encoded Shiga toxin 2. The majority of STEC infections and HUS cases were observed in adults, with a preponderance of the female gender. The outbreak imposed huge challenges on clinicians, microbiologists, and epidemiologists but also provided important new insight for the understanding of STEC infection. Thus, novel therapeutic strategies in the treatment of HUS in adults and for decolonization of long-term STEC carriers were evaluated. This review highlights the unusual features of the recent O104:H4 outbreak and focuses on emerging new strategies in diagnostics and treatment of acute STEC-related disease, as well as STEC long-term carriage.