The problem, the consequences, and rapid testing solutions
Vero-cytotoxin / Shiga Toxin-producing Escherichia coli (VTEC/STEC) are a significant threat to public health causing food-borne and water-borne diarrhea disease and mortality worldwide. If left undetected, these conditions can progress to life-threatening diseases such as Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS).1
Traditional detection methods focus exclusively on O157 VTEC species which means non-O157 serotypes often go undetected.2 The recent non-O157 outbreak in Germany caused substantial mortality and highlighted the need for new diagnostics to address this pathogen.3 In 2012, there were multiple outbreaks of Shiga Toxin-producing E. coli infections in the United States from certain sources and varieties of green, leafy produce.4 Treatment with antibiotics for VTEC infection is not recommended as it can increase the likelihood of developing complications such as HUS.5
Sub-optimal diagnosis for VTEC infection can result in the unnecessary prescription of antibiotics that could result in adverse clinical consequences as well as increasing the growing problem of antimicrobial resistance.
Prompt detection is necessary to prevent outbreaks, secondary transmission and to direct appropriate treatment therapies.1,2
The new SHIGA TOXIN QUIK CHEK test from Alere (developed and manufactured by TechLab®, Inc.) is the only rapid test able to detect VTEC/STEC toxins from all common sub-types directly from fecal samples in under 30 minutes. Prompt detection can ensure antibiotics are not prescribed for VTEC disease potentially improving the clinical outcome of the patient.
- Pennington, H. (2010) Escherichia coli O157. The Lancet, Vol.376, pp.1428–35
- Johnson, K.E., Thorpe, C.M. and Sears, C.L. (2006) The emerging clinical importance of non-O157 Shiga Toxin- producing Escherichia coli. Clinical Infectious Diseases, Vol. 43, pp.1587-95
- STEC Workshop Reporting Group. (2012) Experiences from the Shiga Toxin-producing Escherichia coli O104:H4 outbreak in Germany and research needs in the field. Euro Surveill 2012; 17(7): pii=20091
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (2012) (E. coli) Escherichia coli. [Online]. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/ecoli/2012/O157H7-11-12/index.html (Accessed: 13 Feb 2013)
- Wong, C.S. et al. (2000) The risk of the hemolytic-uremic syndrome after antibiotic treatment of Escherichia coli O157:H7 infections. The New England Journal of Medicine, Vol.342, Iss.26, pp.1930-36