Diagnosisand Investigation of Diarrheagenic Escherichia coli

  • James P. Nataro
  • Juan Martinez
Part of the Methods in Molecular Medicine™ book series (MIMM, volume 15)


Although most Escherichia coli are harmless commensals of the human intestine, certain specific, highly-adapted E. coli strains are capable of causing urinary tract, systemic or enteric/diarrheagenic infection. Diarrheagenic E coli are divided into six distinct categories, or pathotypes, each with a distinct pathogenic scheme (Table 1). Combined, diarrheagenic E coli have emerged as perhaps the most important enteric pathogens of man. In the developing world, the E coli categories account for more cases of gastroenteiltis among infants than any other cause (1) In addition, E coli are also the most common cause of traveller’s diarrhea, which afflicts more than one million travellers to the developing world annually (1). Enterohemorrhagic E coli (EHEC) are the cause of hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), which has become a major foodborne threat in many parts of the developed world (2).
Table 1

Categories of Diarrheagenic E. coli




Virulence plasmid


Clinical syndrome




CFA/I, CFA/II, CFA/IV, others

Watery diarrhea



60 MDa

Bundle-forming pilus

Watery diarrhea of infants


SLT-1, SLT-2

60 MDa a

Intimin, Fimbriae a

Hemorrhagic colitis, HUS




65 MDa a


Watery, persistent diarrhea




140 MDa


Watery diarrhea, dysentery





F1845 a

Watery diarrhea

a Role in pathogenesis unproven


Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome Molecular Diagnostic Technique EPEC Strain Fragment Probe EAEC Strain 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Humana Press Inc. 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • James P. Nataro
    • 1
  • Juan Martinez
    • 1
  1. 1.Center for Vaccine DevelopmentUniversity of Maryland, School of MedicineBaltimore

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