Detection of enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli in stool specimens by polymerase chain reaction

M. Yavzori, N. Porath, O. Ochana, R. Dagan, R. Orni-Wasserlauf, D. Cohen

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A polymerase chain reaction (PCR) protocol for rapid (7 h) detection of enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC) is described. This protocol has been validated on 57 stool samples from young children by comparing it with the colony hybridization technique. A good agreement was found between the two methods with Cohen's kappa statistics of 0.87 and 0.79 for the detection of the heat-stable toxin (ST) and heat-labile toxin (LT), respectively. Of 26 samples positive for LT and 15 samples positive for ST by colony hybridization, 21 (81%) and 15 (100%) were also found to be positive for LT and ST by PCR, respectively. Only one sample identified as LT-negative by colony hybridization was found to be positive by PCX. However, 3 of 42 samples of ST-negative by colony hybridization were detected as positive by PCR. A reconstruction experiment revealed that PCR could detect LT-producing and ST-producing ETEC at minimal concentrations of 2.5 x 103 cfu and 2.5 x 102 cfu per gram of feces, respectively. These data indicate the possible use of this method for rapid identification of ETEC-associated diarrhea in clinical and epidemiological settings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)503-509
Number of pages7
JournalDiagnostic Microbiology and Infectious Disease
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1998


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