TWiM 9: Bean sprouts and E. coli O104:H4

16 June 2011

bean sproutsHosts: Vincent Racaniello, Cliff Mintz, and Michael Schmidt.

On episode #9 of the podcast This Week in Microbiology, Vincent, Cliff, Elio, and Michael review the outbreak of bloody diarrhea and hemolytic uremic syndrome in Germany caused by Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli O104:H4.

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  • Lance

    Dear Vincent,

    Great episode. I was just thinking that it would be good to hear a more detailed discussion on E. coli as it exhibits such diversity in pathogenicity – then you came up with the goods!

    There is one thing I’m not clear on though. What exactly is the difference between the shiga like toxin stx present in this bacterium (O104:H4) and the toxin present in Shigella? I ask because Shigellosis is routinely treated with antibiotics and isn’t associated with haemolytic uraemic syndrome like O104:H4 is.

    Thanks.

  • Andreas

    Hi,

    the embedded Player links to the wrong episode (i.e. to TWIM 8). I was really confused why there isn’t a word about E. coli in the episode until i got that :-D

    Regards

  • http://www.virology.ws profvrr

    I am very sorry for the incorrect embedded link – it’s been fixed.
    Thanks for pointing it out.

  • http://www.virology.ws profvrr

    Good question – the shiga toxin in O104:H4 is quite similar to that in Shigella – so that can’t explain the difference in antibiotic use. I believe it is because in O104:H4 the toxin is carried by a prophage, which is induced by antibiotic treatment. In Shigella the toxin is present in the chromosome, and hence not induced by antibiotics.