Research – Wild Boars as Reservoir of Highly Virulent Clone of Hybrid Shiga Toxigenic and Enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli Responsible for Edema Disease, France

CDC

Edema disease is an often fatal enterotoxemia caused by specific strains of Shiga toxin–producing Escherichia coli (STEC) that affect primarily healthy, rapidly growing nursery pigs. Recently, outbreaks of edema disease have also emerged in France in wild boars. Analysis of STEC strains isolated from wild boars during 2013–2019 showed that they belonged to the serotype O139:H1 and were positive for both Stx2e and F18 fimbriae. However, in contrast to classical STEC O139:H1 strains circulating in pigs, they also possessed enterotoxin genes sta1 and stb, typical of enterotoxigenic E. coli. In addition, the strains contained a unique accessory genome composition and did not harbor antimicrobial-resistance genes, in contrast to domestic pig isolates. These data thus reveal that the emergence of edema disease in wild boars was caused by atypical hybrid of STEC and enterotoxigenic E. coli O139:H1, which so far has been restricted to the wildlife environment.

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