In my ongoing effort to understand the risk to humans of non E. coli O157:H7, this weekend I read the manuscript “Molecular Analysis of Virulence Profiles and Shiga Toxin Genes in Food-Borne Shiga Toxin-Producing Escherichia coli” by Slanec, T., Fruth, A., Creuzburg, K., and H. Schmidt from the Department of Food Microbiology, Institute of Food Science and Biotechnology, University of Hohenheim, Stuttgart, Germany. Click below to download full manuscript:

In general, the manuscript noted that Shiga toxin (Stx)-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) can cause a spectrum of human disease ranging from watery diarrhea to bloody diarrhea (hemorrhagic colitis), which can be followed by serious sequelae such as the hemolytic-uremic syndrome (HUS). STEC are genetically heterogeneous and although more than 200 STEC serotypes have been described, only a limited number of serotypes has been isolated from human cases. The most important serotypes, which can cause severe human disease, are O157:H7, O157:NM, and the non-O157 serotypes O26:H11, O111:NM, O103:H2, and O145:NM. STEC infections are mainly food-borne infections, although direct transmission from animals or from person-to-person has been described. Foods of high risk for transmission are minced meat, other meat products, produce, and dairy products.