A collection of 143 strains of enteropathogenic (EPEC) of 11 different serogroups isolated from children with diarrhoea, 71 in Sweden and 72 in Iran, was tested for similarity with a computerised biochemical fingerprinting method. From Sweden, there were 54 different phenotypes, 42 consisting of a single strain and 12 (common phenotypes) containing more than one isolate. From Iran, there were 48 different phenotypes, 38 with only one strain and 10 with more than one. Many of the strains which were biochemically similar, in both countries, also had similar virulence factors. Nine Swedish and 20 Iranian isolates showed biochemical identity to at least one of the strains of the other country, most of them belonging to serogroups O55, O119, O126, O127 and O128. The value of the biochemical fingerprinting method as an epidemiological tool and its ability to evaluate clonal relations among strains in different geographical areas is discussed.


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