Virulence factors, serogroups, and antibiotic resistance of Shiga-toxin producing Escherichia coli from raw beef, chicken meat, and vegetables in Southwest Iran

Document Type : Full paper (Original article)


1 Ph.D. Student in Bacteriology, Department of Bacteriology and Virology, Shiraz Medical School, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran

2 Department of Bacteriology and Virology, Shiraz Medical School, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran; Shiraz HIV/AIDS Research Center, Institute of Health, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran

3 Professor Alborzi Clinical Microbiology Research Center, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran

4 Department of Bacteriology and Virology, Shiraz Medical School, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran


Background: Shiga-toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) is an important food-borne pathogen causing human diseases with severe symptoms. Although the O157 serotype has been mostly isolated from human specimens, the increasing incidence rates of non-O157 serogroups have attracted special attention in recent years. Aims: Evaluation of the epidemiology and identification of different characteristics of STEC isolates from raw beef, chicken meat, and vegetable samples in Shiraz, Southwest Iran. Methods: Two hundred beef and chicken meat samples from different parts of carcasses and four hundred vegetable samples (carrots, lettuce, cucumber, and leafy greens) were randomly taken; STEC were isolated and confirmed using standard microbiological methods. Antimicrobial susceptibility testing (AST) was performed using the Kirby-Bauer disc diffusion method. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) was used for the identification of O-serogroups, virulence, and antibiotic resistance genes. Results: 52% of beef, 8% of chicken, and 7.2% of vegetable samples were STEC-positive. Further, the highest frequency of virulence factors belonged to the co-existence of stx1 and stx2. O157 serogroup was only detected in beef (3.8%) and lettuce (16.6%) isolates, while the rates of the non-O157 serogroups were relatively high (up to 44.2%). The highest resistance rate in the STEC isolates of different samples belonged to nalidixic acid (62.5%), tetracycline (55.7%), and ampicillin (48%). Conclusion: Paying more attention to non-O157 serogroups in future studies is recommended due to the relatively high prevalence of theses STEC serogroups in our study. Besides, the high level of resistance to some antibiotics observed in this study needs to be addressed.


Main Subjects

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