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Abstract zur Publikation: A large outbreak of hemolytic uremic syndrome caused by an unusual sorbitol-fermenting strain of Escherichia coli O157:H-

Ammon A, Petersen L R, Karch H (1999): A large outbreak of hemolytic uremic syndrome caused by an unusual sorbitol-fermenting strain of Escherichia coli O157:H-
J. Infect. Dis. 179 (5): 1274-1277.

Escherichia coli O157:H7 does not ferment sorbitol, a factor used to differentiate it from other E. coli. From December 1995 to March 1996, 28 children with hemolytic uremic syndrome in Bavaria, Germany, were identified; many had a sorbitol-fermenting (sf) E. coli O157:H- cultured. A case-control study showed a dose-response relationship between sausage consumption and illness. A second case-control study showed a relationship between mortadella and teewurst consumption and illness, particularly during December (mortadella odds ratio (OR), 10.5, P=.004; teewurst OR, 6.2, P=.02). Twelve sf O157:H- were characterized to determine clonality and virulence traits. The strains possessed the Stx2, eae, and EHEC-hlyA genes but were nonhemolytic on blood agar plates. The O157:H- isolates belonged to phage type 88 and had identical pulsed-field gel electrophoresis patterns. This outbreak was caused by sf E. coli O157:H-, which is not detectable by culture on sorbitol MacConkey's agar. Consumption of two sausages, including a raw beef-containing sausage, was statistically related to illness.

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