Shiga-Toxin Producing Escherichia coli and the Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome: What Have We Learned in the Past 25 Years?

  • Christina K. Ahn
  • Nicholas J. Holt
  • Phillip I. Tarr
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 634)


Escherichia coli that belong to the serotype O157:H7 and produce Shiga toxins are important and challenging human pathogens. This organism can cause quite severe human enteric illnesses, including diarrhea and bloody diarrhea. Most notably, E. coli O157:H7 is the predominant cause of the hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) worldwide. HUS consists of nonimmune hemolytic anemia, thrombocytopenia, and acute renal failure, and disproportionately affects children. Both E. coli O157:H7 infections and HUS are relatively rare. According to 2007 estimates from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) (McNabb, Jajosky et al. 2007), there are only c. 2600 cases of culture-proven E. coli O157:H7 infection annually in the entire United States. Based on these data, we estimate that there are about 400 cases of HUS per year, and half or more of the cases of HUS are in children less than 10 years of age. HUS is a thrombotic illness (Upadhyaya, Barwick et al. 1980; Inward, Howie et al. 1997;...


Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome Bloody Diarrhea Shiga Toxin Contact Precaution Toxin Assay 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christina K. Ahn
    • 1
  • Nicholas J. Holt
  • Phillip I. Tarr
  1. 1.Washington University School of MedicineSt. LouisUSA

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