Escherichia coli 0157:H7 Essay examples

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Escherichia coli 0157:H7

Encounter and history:

Escherichia coli are gram negative, rod shaped bacteria that are often used in laboratory studies and are usually harmless, residing in the human digestive tract as part of the normal flora. E. coli 0157:H7 is a pathogenic strain of E. coli that was first identified as a cause of disease in the United States in 1982, during an investigation into an outbreak of gastrointestinal illness. The organism is also called enterohemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC) because it causes abdominal pain with diarrhea that may contain blood. It lives in the intestines of healthy cattle and can contaminate meat during slaughter. It is believed that the widespread use of antibiotics by American farmers has
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coli 0157:H7 are acid tolerant and can easily pass through the stomach. The can also grow from 10-50C with an optimal temperature of 37C. Up to 10% of patients will develop hemolytic uremic syndrome, the most important complication from E. coli 0157:H7. This disease, charictarized by acute renal failure, almost exclusively affects children and the elderly and is fatal in as many as 5% of cases with intensive care. E.coli 0157:H7 is responsible for about 90% of HUS cases and is the leading cause of kidney failure in children. It is caused by the spread of the bacteria and the toxins throughout the bloodstream. Any organ may potentially be affected but certain renal cells are the most vulnerable.

Virulence Factors:

The genome of E. coli 0157:H7 was recently sequenced and contains 1,387 new genes absent in non pathogenic strains. Analysis of the genome suggests that there are a variety of potential virulence genes that have yet to be explored, including fimbrial and other adhesions, secretion systems, and toxins. Many of the virulence genes are similar to those associated with pathogenesis in Salmonella and Shigella. Most of them are found on pathogenicity islands from viral DNA that is transmitted to the bacteria through the activity of a lysogenic phage. The two most important toxins, Stx1 and Stx2 (for shiga-toxin) are found on such islands and are composed of 5 B subunits surounding an active A component, which is transported into the cell after the
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