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E. Coli 0157:H7 (cont.)

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Other enterohemorrhagic E. coli strains (for example, 0145, 026:H11, 0104:H4 and 0121)

Most enterohemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC or STEC) infections were thought to be variants of strain 0157:H7, but this has been shown not to be the situation. Apparently, many other serotypes such as 0145 can acquire the plasmid that is responsible for the synthesis of Shiga (Vero) toxin, and thus can produce disease almost identical to disease symptoms produced by 0157:H7 in infected humans. Just like the 0157:H7 strains, these other E. coli serotypes can cause outbreaks of bloody diarrhea with hemorrhagic colitis that can become complicated by hemolytic uremia.

In 2011, an outbreak in Germany began due to E. coli 0104:H4 due to contamination of sprouts. The outbreak was extensive as over 4000 people in 16 countries became infected. There is some consideration that this strain (and others) may be grouped together as a new EEC group in the future.

Although EHEC strains can be transmitted person to person and on or in contaminated food, the source for the 0145 strain outbreak that has occurred in several states (California, Louisiana, Alabama, Florida, Georgia and Tennessee) was never identified by the CDC.

Another strain, E. coli 0121, caused an outbreak in 19 states in the U.S.; it was traced to contaminated Farm Rich brand of frozen foods.

These serotypes produce essentially the same type of disease as 0157:H7 and are diagnosed and treated in the same manner. Consequently, the previous sections use 0157:H7 as the prototypic EHEC so for all practical purposes, it represents all the EHEC serotypes.


"E. coli (escherichia coli)." Updated Jan 07, 2015.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Reports of Selected E. coli Outbreak Investigations."

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 12/3/2015


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