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Grad Y.H.,Brigham and Womens Hospital | Grad Y.H.,Boston Dynamics | Godfrey P.,The Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard | Cerquiera G.C.,The Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard | And 16 more authors.

The large outbreak of diarrhea and hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) caused by Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli O104:H4 in Europe from May to July 2011 highlighted the potential of a rarely identified E. coli serogroup to cause severe disease. Prior to the outbreak, there were very few reports of disease caused by this pathogen and thus little known of its diversity and evolution. The identification of cases of HUS caused by E. coli O104:H4 in France and Turkey after the outbreak and with no clear epidemiological links raises questions about whether these sporadic cases are derived from the outbreak. Here, we report genome sequences of five independent isolates from these cases and results of a comparative analysis with historical and 2011 outbreak isolates. These analyses revealed that the five isolates are not derived from the outbreak strain; however, they are more closely related to the outbreak strain and each other than to isolates identified prior to the 2011 outbreak. Over the short time scale represented by these closely related organisms, the majority of genome variation is found within their mobile genetic elements: none of the nine O104:H4 isolates compared here contain the same set of plasmids, and their prophages and genomic islands also differ. Moreover, the presence of closely related HUS-associated E. coli O104:H4 isolates supports the contention that fully virulent O104:H4 isolates are widespread and emphasizes the possibility of future food-borne E. coli O104:H4 outbreaks. Importance In the summer of 2011, a large outbreak of bloody diarrhea with a high rate of severe complications took place in Europe, caused by a previously rarely seen Escherichia coli strain of serogroup O104:H4. Identification of subsequent infections caused by E. coli O104:H4 raised questions about whether these new cases represented ongoing transmission of the outbreak strain. In this study, we sequenced the genomes of isolates from five recent cases and compared them with historical isolates. The analyses reveal that, in the very short term, evolution of the bacterial genome takes place in parts of the genome that are exchanged among bacteria, and these regions contain genes involved in adaptation to local environments. We show that these recent isolates are not derived from the outbreak strain but are very closely related and share many of the same disease-causing genes, emphasizing the concern that these bacteria may cause future severe outbreaks. © 2013 Grad et al. Source

King L.A.,Institute of Veille Sanitaire | Nogareda F.,Institute of Veille Sanitaire | Nogareda F.,U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention | Weill F.-X.,Institute Pasteur Paris | And 24 more authors.
Clinical Infectious Diseases

Background.On 22 June 2011, 8 patients with hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) or bloody diarrhea were reported in France. All 8 were attendees of a community center event on 8 June near Bordeaux. Three Escherichia coli cases were confirmed by isolation of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli O104:H4 stx2 aggR producing a cefotaximase (CTX-M) β-lactamase (STEC O104:H4); the same rare serotype caused the outbreak in Germany in May-July 2011. An investigation was initiated to describe the outbreak, identify the vehicle for infection, and guide control measures.Methods.We conducted a retrospective cohort study among all adults attending the event, including food handlers. A standardized questionnaire was administered to participants. A case was an attendee who developed HUS or diarrhea between 8 and 24 June. Cases were confirmed by isolation of STEC O104:H4 or O104 serology. Relative risks (RRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) by exposure were calculated using a Poisson regression model.Results.Twenty-four cases were identified (14% attack rate). Of these, 18 (75%) were women, 22 (92%) were adults, 7 (29%) developed HUS, 5 (21%) developed bloody diarrhea, and 12 (50%) developed diarrhea. Ten (42%) cases were confirmed. Fenugreek was the only sprout type with an independent association to illness (RR, 5.1; 95% CI, 2.3-11.1) in multivariable analysis.Conclusions.This investigation identified a point-source STEC O104:H4 outbreak associated with consumption of fenugreek sprouts. Comparison of results from French and German STEC O104:H4 outbreak investigations enabled identification of a common food vehicle, fenugreek sprouts, and resulted in implementation of Europe-wide control measures in July 2011. © 2012 The Author. Source

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