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      Shiga toxin producing Escherichia coli-associated diarrhea and hemolytic uremic syndrome in young children in Romania

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          Abstract

          Background

          Diarrheagenic Escherichia coli ( E. coli) is an important cause of diarrheal diseases in both developing countries and industrialized countries. An outbreak of hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) in young children from southern Romania was reported in early 2016 and was attributed to Shiga toxin producing E. coli (STEC) O26 infection. The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence, demographic and clinical characteristics of STEC infections in children hospitalized with diarrhea in Brașov in the central region of Romania. We also described the occurrence of HUS among hospitalized children, close in time to the 2016 HUS outbreak in southern Romania.

          Methods

          A prospective study was conducted between March and December 2016 among 722 children aged 1–30 months hospitalized with acute diarrhea. Stool samples obtained from patients with diarrhea were tested for the presence of Shiga toxin type 1 (STX1) and type 2 (STX2) by an immunochromatographic assay, and other enteropathogens. Demographic and clinical information on cases of HUS diagnosed in the same hospital was obtained from medical records.

          Results

          Overall 46/722 (6.4%) children (mean age 10.3 months, 32.6% females) hospitalized with diarrhea tested positive for STX1 or STX2; of these 79% were positive for both STX1 and STX2, 16% for STX2 only, and 5% for STX1 only. Bloody diarrhea, vomiting and fever were documented in 32.6%, 52.1% and 50.0%, respectively of patients with STEC infection. Eleven confirmed HUS cases (mean age 20 months, five females) were identified between 2014 and 2016 with prodromal diarrhea reported in 10 of them. Three of the 11 HUS patients required hemodialysis.

          Conclusions

          STEC prevalence among young children with diarrhea in Romania was high and the risk of HUS is emerging. The establishment of a systematic laboratory-based surveillance program including identification of the circulating STEC strains coupled with epidemiological investigation of HUS patients is warranted to determine the source and mode of transmission of STEC and prevent of STEC-associated diarrhea and HUS.

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          Most cited references 26

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          Shiga-toxin-producing Escherichia coli and haemolytic uraemic syndrome.

          Most cases of diarrhoea-associated haemolytic uraemic syndrome (HUS) are caused by Shiga-toxin-producing bacteria; the pathophysiology differs from that of thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura. Among Shiga-toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC), O157:H7 has the strongest association worldwide with HUS. Many different vehicles, in addition to the commonly suspected ground (minced) beef, can transmit this pathogen to people. Antibiotics, antimotility agents, narcotics, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs should not be given to acutely infected patients, and we advise hospital admission and administration of intravenous fluids. Management of HUS remains supportive; there are no specific therapies to ameliorate the course. The vascular injury leading to HUS is likely to be well under way by the time infected patients seek medical attention for diarrhoea. The best way to prevent HUS is to prevent primary infection with Shiga-toxin-producing bacteria.
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            Pathogenesis and diagnosis of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli infections.

            Since their initial recognition 20 years ago, Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) strains have emerged as an important cause of serious human gastrointestinal disease, which may result in life-threatening complications such as hemolytic-uremic syndrome. Food-borne outbreaks of STEC disease appear to be increasing and, when mass-produced and mass-distributed foods are concerned, can involve large numbers of people. Development of therapeutic and preventative strategies to combat STEC disease requires a thorough understanding of the mechanisms by which STEC organisms colonize the human intestinal tract and cause local and systemic pathological changes. While our knowledge remains incomplete, recent studies have improved our understanding of these processes, particularly the complex interaction between Shiga toxins and host cells, which is central to the pathogenesis of STEC disease. In addition, several putative accessory virulence factors have been identified and partly characterized. The capacity to limit the scale and severity of STEC disease is also dependent upon rapid and sensitive diagnostic procedures for analysis of human samples and suspect vehicles. The increased application of advanced molecular technologies in clinical laboratories has significantly improved our capacity to diagnose STEC infection early in the course of disease and to detect low levels of environmental contamination. This, in turn, has created a potential window of opportunity for future therapeutic intervention.
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              German outbreak of Escherichia coli O104:H4 associated with sprouts.

              A large outbreak of the hemolytic-uremic syndrome caused by Shiga-toxin-producing Escherichia coli O104:H4 occurred in Germany in May 2011. The source of infection was undetermined. We conducted a matched case-control study and a recipe-based restaurant cohort study, along with environmental, trace-back, and trace-forward investigations, to determine the source of infection. The case-control study included 26 case subjects with the hemolytic-uremic syndrome and 81 control subjects. The outbreak of illness was associated with sprout consumption in univariable analysis (matched odds ratio, 5.8; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.2 to 29) and with sprout and cucumber consumption in multivariable analysis. Among case subjects, 25% reported having eaten sprouts, and 88% reported having eaten cucumbers. The recipe-based study among 10 groups of visitors to restaurant K included 152 persons, among whom bloody diarrhea or diarrhea confirmed to be associated with Shiga-toxin-producing E. coli developed in 31 (20%). Visitors who were served sprouts were significantly more likely to become ill (relative risk, 14.2; 95% CI, 2.6 to ∞). Sprout consumption explained 100% of cases. Trace-back investigation of sprouts from the distributor that supplied restaurant K led to producer A. All 41 case clusters with known trading connections could be explained by producer A. The outbreak strain could not be identified on seeds from the implicated lot. Our investigations identified sprouts as the most likely outbreak vehicle, underlining the need to take into account food items that may be overlooked during subjects' recall of consumption.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                oanafp@yahoo.co.uk
                ralucalixandru@gmail.com
                cojocaru_ema@yahoo.com
                csutkazso@gmail.com
                monescu@gmail.com
                kmuhsen@tauex.tau.ac.il
                crisfp100@yahoo.co.uk
                dancohen@tauex.tau.ac.il
                Journal
                Gut Pathog
                Gut Pathog
                Gut Pathogens
                BioMed Central (London )
                1757-4749
                25 September 2019
                25 September 2019
                2019
                : 11
                Affiliations
                [1 ]ISNI 0000 0001 2159 8361, GRID grid.5120.6, Faculty of Medicine, , Transilvania University, ; Brașov, Romania
                [2 ]Department of Pediatrics, Children’s Clinic Hospital, Brașov, Romania
                [3 ]ISNI 0000 0001 2159 8361, GRID grid.5120.6, Faculty of Mathematics and Informatics, , Transilvania University, ; Brașov, Romania
                [4 ]ISNI 0000 0004 1937 0546, GRID grid.12136.37, Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, School of Public Health, Sackler Faculty of Medicine, , Tel Aviv University Ramat Aviv, ; Tel Aviv, Israel
                Article
                327
                10.1186/s13099-019-0327-4
                6761720
                © The Author(s) 2019

                Open AccessThis article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

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                © The Author(s) 2019

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