Comparison of enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli isolated from surface water and diarrhoeal stool samples in Bangladesh

Y. A. Begum, K. A. Talukder, G. B. Nair, S. I. Khan, A. M. Svennerholm, R. B. Sack, F. Qadri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC) is a common cause of bacterial infection leading to acute watery diarrhea in infants and young children. Although the prevalence of ETEC is high in Bangladesh and infections can be spread through food and contaminated water, limited information is available about ETEC in the surface water. We carried out studies to isolate ETEC from surface water samples from ponds, rivers, and a lake from a site close to field areas known to have a high incidence of diarrhea in Dhaka, Bangladesh, and Matlab, Bangladesh. ETEC strains isolated from the water sources were compared with ETEC strains isolated from patients with diarrhea at two hospitals in these areas. ETEC were isolated from 30% (45 of 150) of the samples from the surface water sources and 19% (518 of 2700) of the clinical specimens. One hundred ETEC strains isolated from patients with similar phenotypes as the environmental strains were compared for phenotypic and genotypic properties. The most common O serogroups on ETEC were O6, 025, 078, O115, and O126 in both types of strains. Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis analyses of the ETEC strains showed that multiple clones of ETEC were present within each colonization factor type and that some clones detected in the environment were also isolated from the stools of patients. The strains showed multiple and similar antibiotic resistance patterns. This study shows that ETEC is prevalent in surface water sources in Bangladesh suggesting a possible reason for the endemicity of this pathogen in Bangladesh.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)19-26
Number of pages8
JournalCanadian Journal of Microbiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Colonization factors
  • Enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC)
  • Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis
  • Surface water samples
  • Toxin types

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


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