Enteropathogenic Escherichia coli infection in children

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Purpose of reviewEnteropathogenic Escherichia coli (EPEC) is an important diarrheal pathogen of young children. As the diagnosis of EPEC is now based mainly on molecular criteria, there has been an important change in its prevalence. The purpose of this study is to review the current epidemiology of EPEC infection and the new insights into its physiopathology.Recent findingsRecent epidemiological studies indicate that atypical EPEC (aEPEC) is more prevalent than typical EPEC (tEPEC) in both developed and developing countries, and that aEPEC is important in both pediatric endemic diarrhea and diarrhea outbreaks. Therefore, it is important to further characterize the pathogenicity of these emerging strains. The virulence mechanisms and physiopathology of the attaching and effacing lesion (A/E) and the type three secretion-system (T3SS) are complex but well studied. A/E strains use their pool of locus of enterocyte effacement (LEE)-encoded and non-LEE-encoded effector proteins to subvert and modulate cellular and barrier properties of the host. However, the exact mechanisms of diarrhea in EPEC infection are not completely understood.SummaryRemarkable progress has been made to identify virulence determinants required to mediate the pathogenesis of EPEC. However, fast, easy, and inexpensive diagnostic methods are needed in order to define optimal treatment and prevention for children in endemic areas.

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