1887

Abstract

The aim of this study was to investigate the role and clinical course of verotoxigenic (VTEC) infections in children with acute diarrhoea from Argentina, the country with the highest worldwide incidence of haemolytic uraemic syndrome (HUS). To accomplish this objective, 437 samples from children up to 6 years old with acute diarrhoea were collected and processed. More than 60 % of the children studied presented watery or mucous diarrhoea without blood, and in 25.2 % of the cases the samples contained blood. In a first screening, a multiplex PCR was performed to detect the presence of the , , , and virulence genes. The strains were then isolated and analysed to characterize their serotypes, virulence genes, antibiotic susceptibility profiles and verotoxin (VT) production. Forty-four of the 437 samples (10.1 %) were positive for VTEC virulence genes. VTEC-infected patients presented different types of diarrhoea (27.3 % belonged to the non-bloody type). Several serotypes and virulence genotypes were found. Isolates belonged to the serotypes O157 : H7, O145 : H, O26 : H11, O121 : H19, O111 : H2 and O118 : H2. HUS developed in 16 (36.4 %) patients positive for VTEC virulence genes. All of the VTEC isolates produced a cytopathic effect on Vero cell monolayers, confirming the ability to express VT. Despite most strains being sensitive to all of the antimicrobials studied, a positive association between clinical progression to HUS and antibiotic therapy was observed for the total number of patients studied, as well as for the VTEC group. In conclusion, the data obtained in this study increase our knowledge of the role and clinical course of VTEC infection in childhood acute diarrhoea beyond bloody diarrhoea, and might be considered for the prevention, diagnosis and management of this disease. It is possible that the optimal approach for VTEC diagnosis could be using multiplex PCR to search for the presence of the , , and genes.

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2010-03-01
2019-11-20
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