Background: Shiga toxin (Stx)-producing Escherichia coli (STECs) are the most common cause of acute renal failure in children. The present study evaluated a 10-year STEC polymerase chain reaction screening regimen in children.
Methods: All routine stool culture specimens from patients below 10 years of age (n = 10 342) from May 2003 through April 2013 in the County of Jönköping, Sweden, were included. Patients were divided in 1 group where analyses of STEC were requested by the clinician (n = 2366) and 1 screening group (n = 7976). Patients who were positive for STEC were tested weekly until they were negative. Clinical data were collected through a questionnaire and by reviewing medical records.
Results: In specimens from 191 patients, stx was found (162 index cases). The prevalence was 1.8% in the requested group and 1.5% in the screening group (P = .5). Diarrhea was the most frequent symptom reported in 156 cases and of these 29 (19%) had hemorrhagic colitis (HC) and 7 children developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). No difference regarding severity of symptoms between the groups was found. Stx2 predominated in cases with HC (P < .0001) and HUS (P = .04). Median stx shedding duration was 20 days (1–256 days), and no difference in duration was seen between stx types (P = .106–1.00) and presence of eaeA (P = .72).
Conclusions: Most STEC cases were found in the screening group with comparable prevalence and disease severity as in patients where analysis was requested. Furthermore, non-O157 serotypes caused severe disease when carrying stx2, and prolonged shedding of STEC may be a risk for transmission.
Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli in diarrheal stool of Swedish children: Evaluation of polymerase chain reaction screening and duration of shiga toxin shedding
Journal of the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society
Andreas Matussek, Ing-Marie Einemo, Anna Jogenfors, Sven Löfdahl3 and Sture Löfgren