Escherichia coli producing Shiga toxins (Stx) and the attaching-effacing (AE) lesion (AE-STEC) are responsible for (bloody) diarrhoea in humans and calves while the enteropathogenic E. coli (EPEC) producing the AE lesion only cause non-bloody diarrhoea in all mammals. The purpose of this study was (i) to identify the pathotypes of enterohaemolysin-producing E. coli isolated between 2009 and 2013 on EHLY agar from less than 2 month-old diarrhoeic calves with a triplex PCR targeting the stx1, stx2, eae virulence genes; (ii) to serotype the positive isolates with PCR targeting the genes coding for ten most frequent and pathogenic human and calf STEC O serogroups; and (iii) to compare the MLSTypes and virulotypes of calf and human O5 AE-STEC after Whole Genome Sequencing using two server databases (www.genomicepidemiology.org). Of 233 isolates, 206 were triplex PCR-positive: 119 AE-STEC (58%), 78 EPEC (38%) and 9 STEC (4%); and the stx1+eae+ AE-STEC (49.5%) were the most frequent. Of them, 120 isolates (84% of AE-STEC, 23% of EPEC, 22% of STEC) tested positive with one O serogroup PCR: 57 for O26 (47.5%), 36 for O111 (30%), 10 for O103 (8%) and 8 for O5 (7%) serogroups. The analysis of the draft sequences of 15 O5 AE-STEC could not identify any difference correlated to the host. As a conclusion, (i) the AE-STEC associated with diarrhoea in young calves still belong to the same serogroups as previously (O5, O26, O111) but the O103 serogroup may be emerging, (ii) the O5 AE-STEC from calves and humans are genetically similar.
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