Shiga Toxin/Verocytotoxin-Producing Escherichia coli Infections: Practical Clinical Perspectives

Microbiol Spectr. 2014 Aug;2(4):EHEC-0025-2014. doi: 10.1128/microbiolspec.EHEC-0025-2014.


Escherichia coli strains that produce Shiga toxins/verotoxins are rare, but important, causes of human disease. They are responsible for a spectrum of illnesses that range from the asymptomatic to the life-threatening hemolytic-uremic syndrome; diseases caused by E. coli belonging to serotype O157:H7 are exceptionally severe. Each illness has a fairly predictable trajectory, and good clinical practice at one phase can be inappropriate at other phases. Early recognition, rapid and definitive microbiology, and strategic selection of tests increase the likelihood of good outcomes. The best management of these infections consists of avoiding antibiotics, antimotility agents, and narcotics and implementing aggressive intravenous volume expansion, especially in the early phases of illness.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Escherichia coli Infections / microbiology*
  • Escherichia coli Infections / pathology*
  • Escherichia coli Infections / therapy
  • Fluid Therapy / methods*
  • Humans
  • Shiga-Toxigenic Escherichia coli / physiology*
  • Treatment Outcome