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Toxin promotes cattle-to-cattle transmission of deadly Escherichia coli strains

Shiga toxin subtype 2a (Stx2a) may play a key role in promoting the colonization and transmission of life-threatening Escherichia coli strains in cattle, according to a study published October 3 in the open-access journal PLOS Pathogens by Tom McNeilly of the Moredun Research Institute, David Gally of the University of Edinburgh, and colleagues. As these bacteria evolve ways to increase the activity of Shiga toxins, they may become more of a threat to human health.  Specific E. coli strains infected with viruses that produce Shiga toxin can be a threat to human health, leading to severe symptoms including bloody diarrhea and kidney damage. In many countries, the most serious symptoms in humans are associated with E. coli strains that express Stx2a. For example, E. coli O157 strains that express the Stx2a subtype are associated with life-threatening human infections in the UK. By contrast, these strains do not produce symptoms in cattle -- a natural reservoir host. The role of this toxin in the animal reservoir is still not entirely clear.  Read more....



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