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New Genotyping System Identifies Pathogenic E. coli Outbreak Strains
Date:5/21/2013

ome Sequence Scanning isolates and analyzes genomic DNA from either a complex mixture or a pure culture, provides strain type information and predicts the bacterial serotype in five hours, days faster than current identification methods. The GSS technology will be commercially available in 2014 in PathoGenetix’s RESOLUTION™ Microbial Genotyping System.

Of the numerous types of bacteria categorized as Escherichia coli, or E. coli, some cause disease by producing a toxin called Shiga toxin. Since 1993, when four children died and more than 700 people were infected with E. coli O157:H7 in ground beef, there has been an increasing focus on these “Shiga toxin-producing” E. coli (or STECs) in public health, food safety and regulatory efforts. The CDC lists E. coli STEC O157 in the top five pathogens contributing to domestically acquired foodborne illnesses resulting in hospitalization, estimating that it is responsible for 2,138 hospitalizations each year.

In the past 10 years, other E. coli STEC serotypes have been identified in major outbreaks, as dramatically illustrated in Germany in 2011 when more than 4,000 people became ill and 50 people died due to E. coli O104:H4. In 2012, six additional strains of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STECs O26, O45, O103, O111, O121 and O145) were declared adulterants by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA-FSIS), which plans to expand testing for these “Big 6” non-O157 strains next year. Although beef remains the most common source, STECs have been linked to major recalls in numerous other foo
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