Research – Association between Shiga Toxin–Producing Escherichia coli O157:H7 stx Gene Subtype and Disease Severity, England, 2009–2019

CDC

Abstract

Signs and symptoms of Shiga toxin–producing Escherichia coli (STEC) serogroup O157:H7 infection range from mild gastrointestinal to bloody diarrhea and hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). We assessed the association between Shiga toxin gene (stx) subtype and disease severity for »3,000 patients with STEC O157:H7 in England during 2009–2019. Odds of bloody diarrhea, HUS, or both, were significantly higher for patients infected with STEC O157:H7 possessing stx2a only or stx2a combined with other stx subtypes. Odds of severe signs/symptoms were significantly higher for isolates encoding stx2a only and belonging to sublineage Ic and lineage I/II than for those encoding stx2a only and belonging to sublineage IIb, indicating that stx2a is not the only driver causing HUS. Strains of STEC O157:H7 that had stx1a were also significantly more associated with severe disease than strains with stx2c only. This finding confounds public health risk assessment algorithms based on detection of stx2 as a predictor of severe disease.

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