Virulence profiling and quantification of verocytotoxin-producing **Escherichia coli** O145:H28 and O26:H11 isolated during an ice creamrelated hemolytic uremic syndrome outbreak
Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences
Foodborne pathogens and disease. - -
, p. 421-426
University of Antwerp
In SeptemberOctober 2007, a mixed-serotype outbreak of verocytotoxin-producing Escherichia coli (VTEC) O145:H28 and O26:H11 occurred in the province of Antwerp, Belgium. Five girls aged between 2 and 11 years developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, and seven other coexposed persons with bloody diarrhea were identified. Laboratory confirmation of O145:H28 infection was obtained for three hemolytic uremic syndrome patients, one of whom was coinfected with O26:H11. The epidemiological and laboratory investigations revealed ice cream as the most likely source of the outbreak. The ice cream was produced at a local dairy farm using pasteurized milk. VTEC of both serotypes with indistinguishable pulsed-field gel electrophoresis patterns were isolated from patients, ice cream, and environmental samples. Quantitative analysis of the ice cream indicated concentrations of 2.4 and 0.03 CFU/g for VTEC O145 and O26, respectively. Virulence typing revealed that the repertoire of virulence genes carried by the O145:H28 outbreak strain was comparable to that of O157 VTEC and more exhaustive as compared to the O26:H11 outbreak strain and nonrelated clinical strains belonging to these serotypes. Taken together, these data suggest that O145:H28 played the most important role in this outbreak.