Summary: Sixty-eight of 519 strains of and six of 10 strains of produced toxins acting on Vero cells (VT); all of 63 and strains were VT. Most of the VT strains were from weaned pigs suffering from oedema disease and/or diarrhoea and belonged to serogroups O141:K85,88, O141:K85, O138:K81, and O139:K82; six VT strains were from diarrhoeic human babies, four of serogroup O26 and two of serogroup O128. The VT genes in two of the O26 strains and in the O128 strains were located in the genome of the phages with which they were lysogenized. One O141:K85,88 pig strain transferred its VT genes, probably by conjugation, to K12. The VT of the human strains, the pig strains and the strains were antigenically different from each other; unlike the others, the VT was heat-resistant. Cell-free preparations of cultures of K12 to which the VT genes of the four human strains had been transferred caused fluid accumulation in ligated segments of rabbit intestine. Inoculated intravenously, they were lethal for mice and rabbits; similar preparations of K12 to which the VT genes of the pig strain had been transferred produced a disease in pigs that clinically and pathologically resembled oedema disease.


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