Background: Enteroaggregative (EAEC) and Shiga-toxin producing Escherichia coli (STEC) are a major cause of diarrhea worldwide. E. coli carrying both virulence factors characteristic for EAEC and STEC and producing extended-spectrum beta-lactamase caused severe and protracted disease during an outbreak of E. coli O104:H4 in Europe in 2011. We assessed the opportunities for E. coli carrying the aggR and stx genes to emerge in 'backyard' farms in south-east Asia. Results: Faecal samples collected from 204 chicken farms; 204 farmers and 306 age- and gender-matched individuals not exposed to poultry farming were plated on MacConkey agar plates with and without antimicrobials being supplemented. Sweep samples obtained from MacConkey agar plates without supplemented antimicrobials were screened by multiplex PCR for the detection of the stx1, stx2 and aggR genes. One chicken farm sample each (0.5 %) contained the stx1 and the aggR gene. Eleven (2.4 %) human faecal samples contained the stx1 gene, 2 samples (0.4 %) contained stx2 gene, and 31 (6.8 %) contained the aggR gene. From 46 PCR-positive samples, 205 E. coli isolates were tested for the presence of stx1, stx2, aggR, wzx O104 and fliC H4 genes. None of the isolates simultaneously contained the four genetic markers associated with E. coli O104:H4 epidemic strain (aggR, stx2, wzx O104 and fliC H4 ). Of 34 EAEC, 64.7 % were resistant to 3rd-generation cephalosporins. Conclusion: These results indicate that in southern Vietnam, the human population is a more likely reservoir of aggR and stx gene carrying E. coli than the chicken population. However, conditions for transmission of isolates and/or genes between human and animal reservoirs resulting in the emergence of highly virulent E. coli strains are still favorable, given the nature of'backyard' farms in Vietnam.
- E. coli