Shiga Toxin Producing E. Coli O26

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Multi- State Escherichia coli O26 Infection Linked to Raw Clover Sprouts

Escherichia coli are gram- negative bacteria that are normally found within the gut of warm bloodied organisms. There are several strains of E. coli that exist as part of the normal flora of the human digestive system. They prevent harmful bacteria from establishing themselves in the intestines, and they also aide in the production of vitamin K2. Most E. coli strains are not harmful to humans, except for serotype O157:H7, which causes food poisiong and can be life threatening. There are other less common serotypes of E. coli. We will be discussing Escherichia coli O26, which has been linked to an outbreak involving raw clover sprouts.

It was reported that several people became ill with E. coli O26, “a total of 29 persons that have been infected with the outbreak strain STEC O26 from eleven states” (CDC, 2012). There were several people who had to be hospitalized. There were no deaths reported. It was later confirmed that the E. coli O26 infection was caused by raw clover sprouts eaten at a restaurant named Jimmy John’s. The last final case update was on April 3, 2012, with 85% of the people infected admitted to eating raw clover sprouts from the restaurant.

The etiological agent responsible for this outbreak is Shiga Toxin- producing E. coli O26. “This pathotype is the most commonly heard about in the news in association with food borne outbreaks” (CDC, 2012). Shiga toxin and Shiga-like toxins belong to a group of protein toxins. “The toxins have a moiety that binds to the cell surface and another enzymatically active moiety that after entry into the cytosol inhibits protein synthesis enzymatically” (Oxford Journals, 2013). Shiga toxin- producing E. coli lives in the guts of animals such as cattle, sheep, elk, goats, and deer. Foods associated with this bacteria include unpasteurized apple cider, unpasteruiried dairy products, raw and...
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