Background: Acute diarrheal disease and urinary tract infection are leading causes of childhood morbidity and mortality in the developing world. Diarrheagenic Escherichia coli (DEC) has been identified as a major etiologic agent of diarrhea worldwide, and urinary tract infection (UTI) caused by uropathogenic Escherichia coli (UPEC) is one of the most common bacterial infections among human beings. Quick and precise detection of these bacteria help provide more effective intervention and management of infection.
Objectives: In this study we present a precise and sensitive typing and phylogenetic study of UPEC and DEC using multiplex PCR in order to simplify and improve the intervention and management of diarrheal and UT infections.
Materials and methods: In total, 100 urinary tract infection samples (UTI) and 200 specimens from children with diarrhea, which had been diagnosed with E. coli as the underlying agent by differential diagnosis using MacConkey's agar and biochemical study, were submitted for molecular detection. Pathotyping of E. coli pathotypes causing urinary tract infection and diarrhea were examined using a two set multiplex PCR, targeting six specific genes. Phylogenetic typing was done by targeting three genes, including ChuA, YjaA and TspE4C2.
Results: Overall, 88% of DEC and 54% of UTI isolates were positive for one or more of the six genes encoding virulence factors. Prevalence of the genes encoding virulence factors for DEC were 62%, 25%, 24%, 13%, 7% and 5% for ST (ETEC), LT (ETEC), aggR (EAggEC), daaD (DAEC), invE (EIEC) and eae (EPEC), respectively; whereas, the prevalence rates for the UTI samples were 23%, 14%, 6%, 6% and 4% for aggR (EAggEC), LT (ETEC), daaD (DAEC), invE (EIEC) and ST (ETEC), respectively. No coding virulence factors were detected for eae (EPEC). Group B2 was the most prevalent phylogroup and ST was the most frequently detected pathotype in all phylogroups.
Conclusions: ETEC and EAggEC were the most detected E. coli among stool and UTI samples, emphasizing the need to dedicate more health care attention to this group. In addition, our phylogenetic study may be helpful in figuring out the infection origin and for epidemiological studies. Nonetheless, more research studies with larger sample sizes are suggested for confirming our results.
Keywords: Diarrheagenic Escherichia coli; Molecular Diagnostics; Multiplex Polymerase Chain Reaction (mPCR); Uropathogenic Escherichia coli.