A novel kind of Escherichia coli bacterium causes the deadly food-poisoning outbreak in Germany. Sequence analysis indicated this bacterium is an enterohemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC) serotype O104 strain which has 93 % sequence similarity with the EAEC 55989 E. coli strain, which is known to cause serious diarrhea. Through horizontal gene transfer it has also acquired specific sequences that appear to be similar to those involved in the pathogenicity of hemorrhagic colitis and hemolytic-uremic syndrome (HUS).
Antibiotic treatment is extremely difficult, as the bacterium carries several antibiotic resistance genes, including resistance to aminoglycoside, macrolides and β-lactam antibiotics.
Now Merck Millipore announced that a simple quick test in its product portfolio can detect EHEC in food. Their one-step design is convenient, requires no special training, reduces errors in application and delivers a positive or negative result within 20 minutes once the food has been enriched overnight.
Duopath Verotoxin detects various EHEC or verotoxin-producing strains of E. coli. The serogroup O157 (including H7) and other serovars, such as O26, O103, O111, O145 and O104, can thus be detected indirectly by detecting the verotoxins they produce.