The usual methods for identifying enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC) strains involve testing for production of heat-labile and heat-stable enterotoxins. To simplify the identification of ETEC, antisera against common ETEC O serogroups were used to identify ETEC in the stools from 618 patients with acute diarrhœa and dehydration (≽5% loss of body-weight) receiving treatment at a hospital in Dacca, Bangladesh. Compared with enterotoxin testing the antisera had a sensitivity of 64%, a specificity of 96%, and a predictive accuracy of 89%. These antisera may be useful in the identification ETEC in clinical laboratories which are unable to perform toxin testing and should be evaluated in other geographical areas.
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