Caister Academic Press

Diarrheagenic Escherichia coli Infections in Humans

Rosangela Tozzoli and Flemming Scheutz
from: Pathogenic Escherichia coli: Molecular and Cellular Microbiology (Edited by: Stefano Morabito). Caister Academic Press, U.K. (2014)


Escherichia coli is the predominant component of the mammals' gastrointestinal tract microbiota. It is usually a harmless commensal. Nevertheless, some strains have evolved the capability to cause disease in humans and are subdivided in groups depending on which part of the body they affect and of their particular pathogenic mechanism. Clinical syndromes resulting from infection with pathogenic E. coli strains include: (i) urinary tract infection, (ii) sepsis/meningitis, and (iii) enteric/diarrheal disease. Strains causing the first two clinical syndromes are altogether termed Extraintestinal Pathogenic E. coli (ExPEC), whereas the strains inducing gastroenteric disease are known as Diarrheagenic E. coli (DEC). DEC are subdivided in different pathotypes based on their adhesion/colonization mechanism and the toxins produced, which are: Enteropathogenic E. coli (EPEC), Enterotoxigenic E. coli (ETEC), Enteroinvasive E. coli (EIEC), Enteroaggregative E. coli (EAggEC), Diffusely Adherent E. coli (DAEC), and Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC), which are also referred to as Verocytotoxin-producing E. coli (VTEC). This chapter focuses on the human infections caused by DEC, providing general knowledge on the virulence traits and pathogenic mechanisms, the symptoms induced, known incidence and routes of transmission of DEC belonging to the different pathotypes read more ...
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