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Prevalence of enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli virulence genes from scouring piglets in Zimbabwe

Madoroba, Evelyn, Van Driessche, Edilbert, De Greve, Henri, Mast, Jan, Ncube, Ignatious, Read, John, Beeckmans, Sonia
Tropical animal health and production 2009 v.41 no.7 pp. 1539-1547
Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli, agglutination, diarrhea, edema, enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli, fimbriae, genes, piglets, polymerase chain reaction, screening, toxins, transmission electron microscopy, vaccines, virulence, Zimbabwe
World-wide, enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC) and verotoxigenic E. coli (VTEC)-induced diarrhea are economically important for porcine producers. Our aim was to investigate the prevalence of toxin and fimbrial genes among E. coli isolated from diarrheic piglets from randomly selected piggeries in Zimbabwe.We used multiplex PCR for screening STa, STb, LT, and Stx-2e toxins. Subsequently F4, F5, F6, F18 and F41 fimbriae genes were screened in toxin positive isolates. Toxin positive strains lacking tested fimbriae genes were characterized using transmission electron microscopy, agglutination and agglutination inhibition tests. Approximately 32% of the 1,984 isolates tested positive for STa, STb, LT or Stx-2e genes. Of these, approximately 81% had F4, F5, F6, F18 or F41 fimbriae genes. The remaining toxin positive strains lacked tested fimbriae genes and appeared to either express F1-like fimbriae, or lacked fimbriae. The data constitute an important framework for implementation of prevention measures, such as using relevant fimbriae-based vaccines against ETEC induced diarrhea or VTEC-induced edema.