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Novel multiplex PCR for detection of diarrheagenic Escherichia coli strains isolated from stool and water samples

Author(s): J.W. Vendruscolo, T.L. Waldrich, G.I.A. Saikawa, J.S. Pelayo, R.K.T. Kobayashi, G. Nakazato, S.P.D. Rocha

Diarrhea is considered the second most common cause of infant mortality worldwide. The disease can be caused by many different pathogens, including diarrheagenic Escherichia coli (DEC), which includes the pathotypes enterotoxigenic E. coli (ETEC), enteroinvasive E. coli (EIEC), enteroaggregative E. coli (EAEC), Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC), and enteropathogenic E. coli (EPEC). To develop a multiplex PCR system for the safe and accurate identification of the five main pathotypes of DEC, seven pairs of primers were determined for the following genes: aaiC, escV, bfpA, ipaH, elt, stx1, and stx2. To validate the system, 413 isolates from different sources (water and both animal and human stool) were analyzed that had been characterized previously. The sensitivity data were grouped by pathotype, in which 92.7% of the atypical EPEC were correlated, as were 92.8% of the STEC, 91.35% of the EAEC, and 100% of the typical EPEC, ETEC, and EIEC. These findings indicate that it is possible to detect the major five pathotypes of DEC from different sources, which can aid in determining the epidemiology of diarrhea with a low cost, high sensitivity and specificity, and the easy and safe viewing of the resulting PCR products.