Summary

The serogroups of 396 necrotizing Escherichia coli of human and bovine origin isolated in Spain between 1979 and 1991 have been determined. The 270 cytotoxic necrotizing factor strains belonged to 22 different O serogroups; however, 84% (226 of 270) were of one of seven serogroups (O2, O4, O6, O14, O22, O75 and O83). Although necrotizing E. coli producing cytotoxic necrotizing factor 2 belonged to 28 different serogroups, only six of them (O1, O3, O15, O55, O88 and O123) accounted for 60% (76 of 126) of cytotoxic necrotizing factor 2 strains. Furthermore, only 3% (4 of 126) of cytotoxic necrotizing factor 2 strains belonged to serogroups most common among strains producing cytotoxic necrotizing factor 1. The majority of necrotizing E. coli producing cytotoxic necrotizing factor 1 were obtained from human extraintestinal infections, whereas cytotoxic necrotizing factor 2 strains were isolated from stools of healthy and diarrhoeic calves.

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