Evaluation of a new chromogenic agar medium for detection of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) and relative prevalences of O157 and non-O157 STEC in Manitoba, Canada

J. L. Wylie, P. Van Caeseele, M. W. Gilmour, D. Sitter, C. Guttek, S. Giercke

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This study assesses the detection performance of CHROMagar STEC medium relative to a reference cytotoxin assay and describes the current relative prevalence of O157 and non-O157 Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) serotypes within the province of Manitoba, Canada. Over a 10-month period, 205 nonfrozen routine stool submissions to Cadham Provincial Laboratory (CPL) were used to assess the performance of CHROMagar STEC. Of the 205 stools, 14 were identified as true positives by a cytotoxin assay, with resultant CHROMagar STEC sensitivity, specificity, and positive predictive and negative predictive values of 85.7%, 95.8%, 60.0%, and 98.9%, respectively. Using a separate panel of 111 STEC strains, CHROMagar STEC was shown to support the growth of 96 (86.5%) isolates. To assess relative prevalence, attempts were made to isolate by any means all STEC strains identified at CPL over a 17-month period. Of 49 isolates (representing 86.0% of all STEC infections detected), only 28.6% were O157 STEC strains. Of the 35 non-O157 STEC strains, 29 were subjected to further molecular analysis. In contrast to earlier results from our area, carriage of stx2 appears to have increased. Overall, although CHROMagar STEC is not recommended as a primary screen, our results indicate that it is an effective supplemental medium for the isolation of probable STEC strains. Increased isolation of these serotypes is warranted to better understand their prevalence, clinical characteristics, and epidemiology and aid in the development or enhancement of food safety control programs targeting all STEC serotypes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)466-471
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Clinical Microbiology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2013

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