Diarrheagenic Escherichia coli pathotypes isolated from children with diarrhea in the Federal Capital Territory Abuja, Nigeria
Introduction: Escherichia coli are frequently isolated from diarrheic children in the Federal Capital Territory Abuja, Nigeria, but their virulent properties are not routinely evaluated. Therefore, the etiology of childhood diarrheal disease attributable to diarrheagenic Escherichia coli (DEC) in Abuja, Nigeria remains unknown.
Methodology: Stool specimens from 400 acute diarrheic children between 0 and 60 months of age were studied.E. coli strains isolated were evaluated by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) for nine virulence genes and HEp-2 cell adherence to detect and identify five distinct diarrheagenic E. coli categories.
Results: Diarrheagenic E.coli was detected in 51 (12.8%) of the diarrheic children. The observed DEC pathotypes were enteropathogenic E. coli (EPEC) in 18 (4.5%) children, enterotoxigenic E. coli (ETEC) in 16 (4.0%), enteroaggrative E. coli (EAEC) in 8 (2.0%), enterohaemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC) in 6 (1.5%), and enteroinvasive E. coli (EIEC) in 3 (0.8%). Four (1.0 %) EPEC strains with only the eae+ gene that adhered diffusely to HEp-2 cell were identified as atypical EPEC. All the DEC categories except atypical EPEC were identified in children between 6 and 12 months of age.
Conclusions: This study underscores the need for routine evaluation of diarrheic children for virulence properties of infectious DEC. Atypical EPEC are emerging among the DEC pathotypes isolated from childhood acute gastroenteritis in Abuja, Nigeria.
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