K Enteropathogenic E coli (EPEC)

EPEC primarily cause disease in infants and children younger than 2 years of age. Older children and adults may harbor the causative organism but overt illness is uncommon. Both outbreaks and sporadic episodes are most common in developing countries. EPEC attaches to the brush-border surface of enterocytes, activating signal transduction pathways. These activated pathways in turn alter cytoskeletal components, resulting in the effacement of the absorptive surface as well as increased epithelial permeability and altered epithelial barrier function. The resulting diarrhea in neonates and young children can be severe, may be associated with vomiting, and can cause severe dehydration. Most cases are self-limited.

Some commercial laboratories offer a Hep-2 cell adherence assay, but definitive diagnosis usually requires the resources of reference or research laboratories. Rehydration therapy is critical. Antibiotics appear effective; trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole and colistin have been used.

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  • Category: Digestion