Table of Contents Author Guidelines Submit a Manuscript
BioMed Research International
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 236260, 11 pages
Research Article

Phenotypic and Genotypic Characterization of Enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli Clinical Isolates from Northern Colombia, South America

1Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, 1161 21st Avenue South, Nashville, TN 37232-2581, USA
2Departamento de Microbiología, Grupo de Microbiología Clínica y Ambiental, Universidad de Cartagena, Cartagena, Colombia

Received 17 January 2014; Revised 7 April 2014; Accepted 8 April 2014; Published 30 April 2014

Academic Editor: Chensong Wan

Copyright © 2014 Julio A. Guerra et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC) are major causes of childhood diarrhea in low and middle income countries including Colombia, South America. To understand the diversity of ETEC strains in the region, clinical isolates obtained from northern Colombia children were evaluated for multiple locus sequencing typing, serotyping, classical and nonclassical virulence genes, and antibiotic susceptibility. Among 40 ETEC clinical isolates evaluated, 21 (52.5%) were positive for LT gene, 13 (32.5%) for ST gene, and 6 (15%) for both ST and LT. The most prevalent colonization surface antigens (CS) were CS21 and CFA/I identified in 21 (50%) and 13 (32.5%) isolates, respectively. The eatA, irp2, and fyuA were the most common nonclassical virulence genes present in more than 60% of the isolates. Ampicillin resistance (80% of the strains) was the most frequent phenotype among ETEC strains followed by trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole resistance (52.5%). Based on multiple locus sequencing typing (MLST), we recognize that 6 clonal groups of ETEC clinical isolates circulate in Colombia. ETEC clinical isolates from children in northern Colombia are highly diverse, yet some isolates circulating in the community belong to well-defined clonal groups that share a unique set of virulence factors, serotypes, and MLST sequence types.