Identification of human enterovirulent Escherichia coli strains by multiplex PCR
Escherichia coli Infections
Some strains of Escherichia coli are involved in enteric infections in both adults and children. However the classical diagnostic methods can not differentiate pathogenic from nonpathogenic E. coli, because of the lack of phenotypic differences. In this study, we developed multiplex PCR in order to amplify fragments of specific virulence genes of the five main E. coli pathotypes. Fragments of the expected size were obtained using previously or newly designed primers and allowed identification of 10 virulence genes in only 5 reactions. This method was applied to the detection of pathogenic E. coli isolated from 90 patients' stools specimens during an 18-month survey. Patients were suffering from diarrhea or hemolytic uremic syndrome and in 13 cases (14.4%), an enterovirulent E. coli strain was detected. This diagnostic method could therefore represent an important technique in clinical laboratories which lack standard tests for these pathogens.