Enterohaemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC)


Enterohaemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC), a subgroup of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC), also named verocytotoxin-producing E. coli (VTEC), are worldwide recognized as important zoonotic pathogens. EHEC causes diarrhoea, haemorrhagic colitis and the haemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) in humans. E. coli O157:H7 is recognized as a foodborne pathogen since 1982, when it became obvious that the pathogen was responsible for an outbreak of haemorrhagic colitis in the U.S. following consumption of undercooked hamburgers. Recently, several outbreaks have been reported world-wide. Cattle are considered a primary reservoir. We are focusing on reducing E. coli O157:H7 excretion by cattle through administration of natural anti-microbials and vaccines in order to reduce human infections.

(collaboration with Prof. Dr. E. Cox & Prof. Dr. L. De Zutter, Fac. Vet. Med. Ghent University and Prof. Dr. J.P. Remon, Fac Pharmaceutical Sciences, Ghent University).