Diarrhoeagenic Escherichia coli and Escherichia albertii in Brazil: pathotypes and serotypes over a 6-year period of surveillance
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Diarrhoeagenic Escherichia coli (DEC) is a leading cause of infectious diarrhoea worldwide. In recent years, Escherichia albertii has also been implicated as a cause of human enteric diseases. This study describes the occurrence of E. coli pathotypes and serotypes associated with enteric illness and haemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) isolated in Brazil from 2011 to 2016. Pathotypes isolated included enteropathogenic E. coli (EPEC), enteroaggregative E. coli (EAEC), enterotoxigenic E. coli (ETEC), enteroinvasive E. coli (EIEC) and Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC). PCR of stool enrichments for DEC pathotypes was employed, and E. albertii was also sought. O:H serotyping was performed on all DEC isolates. A total of 683 DEC and 10 E. albertii strains were isolated from 5047 clinical samples. The frequencies of DEC pathotypes were 52.6% (359/683) for EPEC, 325% for EAEC, 6.3% for ETEC, 4.4% for ETEC and 4.2% for STEC. DEC strains occurred in patients from 3 months to 96 years old, but EPEC, EAEC and STEC were most prevalent among children. Both typical and atypical isolates of EPEC and EAEC were recovered and presented great serotype heterogeneity. HUS cases were only associated with STEC serotype O157:H7. Two E. albertii isolates belonged to serogroup O113 and one had the stx2f gene. The higher prevalence of atypical EPEC in relation to EAEC in community-acquired diarrhoea in Brazil suggests a shift in the trend of DEC pathotypes circulation as previously EAEC predominated. This is the first report of E. albertii isolation from active surveillance. These results highlight the need of continuing DEC and E. albertii surveillance, as a mean to detect changes in the pattern of pathotypes and serotypes circulation and provide useful information for intervention and control strategies.