Research – An outbreak of food poisoning due to Escherichia coli serotype O7:H4 carrying astA for enteroaggregative E. coli heat-stable enterotoxin1 (EAST1) – Seaweed

Cambridge Org

In June 2020, a large-scale food poisoning outbreak involving about 3000 elementary and junior high school students occurred in Yashio, Saitama, Japan. A school lunch was the only food stuff ingested by all of the patients. Escherichia coli serotype O7:H4 carrying the astA gene for enteroaggregative E. coli (EAggEC) heat-stable enterotoxin 1 (EAST1) was detected in faecal specimens from the patients, and sample inspection revealed its presence in a seaweed salad and red seaweed (Gigartina tenella) as one of the raw materials. Analysis of the antibiotic sensitivity of the isolates revealed resistance to ampicillin and cefotaxime. All isolates were confirmed to be of the same origin by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis after digestion with the restriction enzyme XbaI, and single nucleotide polymorphism analysis using whole genome sequencing. To our knowledge, this is the first report of a large-scale food poisoning caused by E. coli O7:H4, which lacks well-characterized virulence genes other than astA.

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