Shiga toxin (Stx) constitutes the major virulence factor associated with Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) . The first reported STEC outbreak occurred in a quick service restaurant (QSR, an inexpensive restaurant with limited menu and no table service, where the food is pre-prepared and paid for prior to consumption) in the United States in the early 1980s. Although STEC is a comparatively rare cause of foodborne illness, it is disproportionately overrepresented in terms of cases requiring hospitalization. There are an estimated 175,000 cases of STEC infection per year in the US alone, including occasional major foodborne outbreaks. These STEC infections account for an estimated economic loss in excess of one billion USD per year. Monetary losses do not include the suffering and misery experienced by those infected with STEC or the toll taken by the average of about 100 deaths each year due to STEC infections in the US. STEC infections are a worldwide problem. The largest documented outbreak occurred in 1996 in Japan, and the most deadly, in Germany in 2011, with 53 fatalities. In short, STEC is a significant source of foodborne illness and will likely continue to be so in the future.
KeywordsShiga toxin Vero toxin Foodborne illness Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) AB5 holotoxins Escherichia coli serotypes O-antigen H-antigen Lambdoid phage Retrograde transport
- Frank C, Werber D, Cramer JP, Askar M, Faber M, an der Heiden M, Bernard H, Fruth A, Prager R, Spode A, Wadl M, Zoufaly A, Jordan S, Kemper MJ, Follin P, Muller L, King LA, Rosner B, Buchholz U, Stark K, Krause G (2011) Epidemic profile of Shiga-toxin-producing Escherichia coli O104:H4 outbreak in Germany. N Engl J Med 365(19):1771–1780CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Hoffmann S, Maculloch B, Batz M (2015) Economic Burden of Major Foodborne Illnesses Acquired in the United States. Economic Information Bulletin EIB-140, 59 pp. http://www.ers.usda.gov/media/1837791/eib140.pdf
- Tozzoli R, Scheutz F (2014). Diarrheagenic Escherichia coli infections in humans. In Morabito S (ed) Pathogenic Escherichia coli: molecular and cellular microbiology. Caister Academic Press, Norfolk, UK, pp 1–18.Google Scholar