Enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC) and specifically serotype O157:H7 are a significant cause of hemorrhagic gastrointestinal disease and the hemolytic uremic syndrome. Methods currently used in clinical microbiology labs, such as sorbitol-MacConkey (SMAC) agar, reliably detect only O157:H7. We have evaluated a two-step method that has the potential to identify and isolate all EHEC serotypes, including serotype O157: H7. This method utilizes a chromogenic selective-differential medium for the isolation of E. coil together with an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) that detects the Shiga-like toxins Stx1 and Stx2. Both are commercially available and usable in a wide range of clinical microbiology laboratories. Compared to a Veto cell cytotoxic assay, SMAC had sensitivities of 23.5% for the identification of all EHEC serotypes and of 50.0% for the identification of O157:H7 alone. The two-step method had sensitivities of 76.5 and 100%, respectively. The ELISA alone had a sensitivity of 82.4% in the detection of Stx1 and Stx2. The specificity was 100% in all cases. Overall, 14 EHEC isolates were obtained: 8 (58%) O157:H7, 2 (14%) O26, 2 (14%) O111:NM, 1 (7%) O103: H2, and 1 (7%) O121:H19. All but one were isolated during the months of May to September. The two-step method was found to be considerably more expensive than SMAC for both positive and negative samples.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Microbiology (medical)