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Evaluation of CHROMagar STEC and STEC O104 chromogenic agar media for detection of Shiga Toxin-producing Escherichia coli in stool specimens.

Journal of clinical microbiology (2013-01-04)
Malika Gouali, Corinne Ruckly, Isabelle Carle, Monique Lejay-Collin, François-Xavier Weill
ABSTRACT

The performance of CHROMagar STEC and CHROMagar STEC O104 (CHROMagar Microbiology, Paris, France) media for the detection of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) was assessed with 329 stool specimens collected over 14 months from patients with suspected STEC infections (June 2011 to August 2012). The CHROMagar STEC medium, after an enrichment broth step, allowed the recovery of the STEC strain from 32 of the 39 (82.1%) Shiga toxin-positive stool specimens, whereas the standard procedure involving Drigalski agar allowed the recovery of only three additional STEC strains. The isolates that grew on CHROMagar STEC medium belonged to 15 serotypes, including the prevalent non-sorbitol-fermenting (NSF) O157:H7, O26:H11, and O104:H4 serotypes. The sensitivity, specificity, and positive and negative predictive values for the CHROMagar STEC medium were between 89.1% and 91.4%, 83.7% and 86.7%, 40% and 51.3%, and 98% and 98.8%, respectively, depending on whether or not stx-negative eae-positive E. coli was considered atypical enteropathogenic E. coli (EPEC) or STEC that had lost Shiga toxin genes during infection. In conclusion, the good performance of CHROMagar STEC agar medium, in particular, the high negative predictive value, and its capacity to identify NSF O157:H7 as well as common non-O157 STEC may be useful for clinical bacteriology, public health, and reference laboratories; it could be used in addition to a method targeting Shiga toxins (detection of stx genes by PCR, immunodetection of Shiga toxins in stool specimens, or Vero cell cytotoxicity assay) as an alternative to O157 culture medium. This combined approach should allow rapid visualization of both putative O157 and non-O157 STEC colonies for subsequent characterization, essential for real-time surveillance of STEC infections and investigations of outbreaks.

MATERIALS
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