Enteroinvasive Escherichia coli. Pathogenesis and epidemiology

G. Prats, T. Llovet

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Enteroinvasive Escherichia coli (EIEC) is an intestinal pathogen causing enteritis, with a similar pathogenic mechanism to that of Shigella, which causes an epithelial invasion of the large bowel leading to inflammation and ulceration of the mucosa. The patients often develop the symptoms of bacillary dysentery. The EIEC strains are atypical in their biochemical reactions and may ferment lactose late or not at all, are lysine decarboxilase negative, and non motile. In addition, most EIEC strains express somatic antigens which are either strongly related or identical to Shigella antigens. EIEC invasion is mediated by a large plasmid (140 MDa) coding for the production of several outer membrane proteins involved in invasiveness. These strains have been isolated with some regularity in South America, the Extreme Orient, and Eastern Europe. In Spain the incidence of enteroinvasive E. coli is extraordinarily low (0.2%), the serogroup O124 being the most frequently isolated. EIEC enteritis has been associated to sporadic cases occurring in travellers. Occasional outbreaks related to ingestion of contaminated water or food and person to person have been reported.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)91-96
JournalMicrobiologia SEM
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1995


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