Enteroaggregative Escherichia coli: Another Cause of Acute and Chronic Diarrhoea in England?

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Enteroaggregative Escherichia coli (EAggEC) has been found to be associated with acute and persistent diarrhoea in children in developing countries. Its clinical significance in developed countries has not been examined in much detail. In a survey of faecal samples from children with diarrhoea presenting to a children's hospital in East London between August and December 1988, EAggEC strains were isolated in 8 of 297 (2.7%) consecutive stool samples collected from 289 children and in 5 of 34 typed E. coli isolates during 1988. Of the 13 children found to be excreting EAggEC, 8 had acute diarrhoea and 5 had chronic diarrhoea of more than 14 days' duration; 5 children had mixed infections. Compared to other organisms found during the same period, EAggEC were isolated as frequently as many other better-known pathogens such as enteropathogenic E. coli, Campylobacter, Salmonella, Shigella, Giardia lamblia, and Cryptosporidium. We conclude that EAggEC may be an important pathogen in developed countries.

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