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Salud Pública de México

Print version ISSN 0036-3634


RODRIGUEZ-ANGELES, Guadalupe. Diagnosis and main characteristics of Escherichia coli pathogenic groups. Salud pública Méx [online]. 2002, vol.44, n.5, pp.464-475. ISSN 0036-3634.

Escherichia coli colonizes the human intestinal tract within hours of birth and is considered a non-pathogenic member of the normal intestinal flora. However, there are six pathogenic groups that may produce diarrhea: enterotoxigenic (ETEC), enterohemorrhagic (EHEC), enteroinvasive (EIEC), enteropathogenic (EPEC), enteroaggregative (EAEC) and diffusely adherent (DAEC) groups. E. coli can be isolated and classified using traditional methods, by identifying its biochemical or serum characteristics. The pathogenic mechanisms may be studied in cell cultures and animal model assays, as well as more up to date molecular biology methods for study and diagnosis. The latter have proven that genes are involved in pathogenesis. The objective of the present work is to draw attention to the importance of E. coli as a pathogenic organism. This microorganism is an etiologic agent of sporadic cases of diarrhea, hemorrhagic colitis, dysentery, and hemolytic uremic syndromes and outbreaks. Diarrheic E. coli manifestations occur mainly among infants, and deep knowledge and understanding of this microorganism are crucial to better epidemiologic surveillance.

Keywords : Escherichia coli; probes; diarrhea; epidemiology.

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