Jpn. J. Infect. Dis., 56, 103-106, 2003

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Short Communication

The Incidence of Escherichia coli Having Pathogenic Genes for Diarrhea: A Study in the People's Democratic Republic of Lao

Bounnanh Phantouamath, Noikaseumsy Sithivong, Sithat Insisiengmay, Naomi Higa1, Claudia Toma1, Noboru Nakasone1 and Masaaki Iwanaga1*

Center for Laboratory and Epidemiology, Ministry of Health, Vientiane, People's Democratic Republic of Lao and 1Department of Bacteriology, Faculty of Medicine, University of the Ryukyus, Okinawa 903-0215, Japan

(Received April 9, 2003. Accepted June 4, 2003)

SUMMARY: The incidence of Escherichia coli having pathogenic genes for diarrhea was studied in Laos in 2002. A total of 525 E. coli strains from 278 patients (basically, two E. coli isolates from each patient) were examined by PCR to detect the known pathogenic genes (stx, eae, elt, est, ipaH, and aggR ). These genes were detected in 23 strains from 16 patients (16/278: 5.8%). In 10 cases of the 16, one of the two isolates from each individual was negative for the gene, and in the other six cases, both isolates had the gene (same gene in four cases). E. coli having eae but no stx (enteropathogenic E. coli [EPEC]) was found in two cases out of 278 (0.7%). Nevertheless, Class I classical EPEC (serogroup-based) was found in 77 cases (28%). Enterotoxigenic E. coli, enteroaggregative E. coli, and enterohemorrhagic E. coli were found in 9, 4, and 1 cases, respectively. Enteroinvasive E. coli was not detected. This study suggested that the incidence of diarrhea due to E. coli is not as high as has been previously thought.

*Corresponding author: Mailing address: Department of Bacteriology, Faculty of Medicine, University of the Ryukyus, Uehara 207, Nishihara, Okinawa 903-0215, Japan. Tel: +81-98-895-1125, Fax: +81-98-895-1408, E-mail:

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