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Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Infectious Diseases
Volume 2010 (2010), Article ID 254159, 10 pages
Review Article

Enteroaggregative Escherichia coli: An Emerging Enteric Food Borne Pathogen

1Department of Pathology, Scott & White Memorial Hospital and Clinic, The Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine, Temple, TX 76508, USA
2Department of Experimental Medicine and Biotechnology, Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh 160012, India

Received 6 October 2009; Revised 30 November 2009; Accepted 21 January 2010

Academic Editor: Joshua Metlay

Copyright © 2010 P. Kaur 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.


Enteroaggregative Escherichia coli (EAEC) are quite heterogeneous category of an emerging enteric pathogen associated with cases of acute or persistent diarrhea worldwide in children and adults, and over the past decade has received increasing attention as a cause of watery diarrhea, which is often persistent. EAEC infection is an important cause of diarrhea in outbreak and non-outbreak settings in developing and developed countries. Recently, EAEC has been implicated in the development of irritable bowel syndrome, but this remains to be confirmed. EAEC is defined as a diarrheal pathogen based on its characteristic aggregative adherence (AA) to HEp-2 cells in culture and its biofilm formation on the intestinal mucosa with a “stacked-brick” adherence phenotype, which is related to the presence of a 60 MDa plasmid (pAA). At the molecular level, strains demonstrating the aggregative phenotype are quite heterogeneous; several virulence factors are detected by polymerase chain reaction; however, none exhibited 100% specificity. Although several studies have identified specific virulence factor(s) unique to EAEC, the mechanism by which EAEC exerts its pathogenesis is, thus, far unknown. The present review updates the current knowledge on the epidemiology, chronic complications, detection, virulence factors, and treatment of EAEC, an emerging enteric food borne pathogen.