Escherichia coli

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Escherichia coli is found in the vast majority of warm-blooded animals. It forms part of the physiological microflora of the colon and the distal part of the ileum. The individual is colonized almost immediately after birth, usually by alimentary route or by transfer from an already colonized individual. In the long term, E. coli is unable to exist outside the host. Therefore, its detection (e.g. in drinking water) is indicative of fecal contamination.

Diseases[edit | edit source]

Strains of E. coli that are part of the microflora do not cause disease in healthy individuals. It takes one of the following factors to cause a clinically serious infection:

  • disruption of the microbiota, e.g. due to the use of ATBs or immunosuppression, and an overgrowth of E. coli;
  • pathogenic strains' capable of producing various pathogenicity factors (toxins, adhesive pili);
  • Introduction of infection' outside the gut, most commonly into the urinary tract, peritoneal cavity.
    Searchtool right.svg For more information see Infections caused by Escherichia coli.

Diagnosis[edit | edit source]

Cultivation[edit | edit source]

Cultivation of E. coli is undemanding. For its isolation and diagnosis, lactose agar is most commonly used. On MacConkey agar and Endo agar, it grows in colonies surrounded by pink staining indicating lactose fermentation. On blood agar it grows in greyish colonies, some strains (often pathogenic) with complete hemolysis.

Biochemistry[edit | edit source]

E. coli has very broad enzymatic activity, which is used in its identification. So-called color series are used, which, by the change in color after plating and incubation of a colony, allow the species to be classified precisely according to its biochemical properties. This is often used because of the need to distinguish other enterobacteria that participate in the intestinal flora.

Microscopy[edit | edit source]

In a slide stained with by Gram, E. coli appears as a G- rods with flagella.

Serology[edit | edit source]

Classical serological procedures are used for more precise determination. This is mainly used in tracking epidemics and spread of individual strains. The most important is indirect agglutination, which can distinguish individual serotypes of E. coli.

Treatment[edit | edit source]

Conventional treatment is symptomatic only. Antibiotics are used only in extraintestinal infections and immunosuppressed patients. β-lactam ATBs can be used along with β-lactamase inhibitors. Escherichia coli is sensitive to most antibiotics.

Links[edit | edit source]

Related articles[edit | edit source]

Source[edit | edit source]

  • HORÁČEK, Jiří. Základy lékařské mikrobiologie. 1. edition. Karolinum, 2000. ISBN 80-246-0006-4.

Source[edit | edit source]