Enteropathogenic Escherichia coli (EPEC) is a gram-negative bacterial pathogen that adheres to intestinal epithelial cells, causing diarrhea. It constitutes a significant risk to human health and remains an important cause of infant mortality in developing countries. Although EPEC was the first E. coli strain to be implicated in human disease in the 1940s and 1950s, the mechanisms by which this pathogen induced diarrhea remained a complete mystery throughout most of the 40 years since its description. It was only during the late 1980s that major advances were made in unravelling the mechanisms behind EPEC pathogenesis. Ever since, progress has been made at a stunning pace and there have been major breakthroughs in identifying the bacterial factors involved in attaching and effacing (A/E) lesion formation, host signal transduction pathways in response to EPEC infection and the genetic basis of EPEC pathogenesis. The rapid pace of discovery is a result of intensive research by investigators in this field and portends that EPEC will soon be among one of the most understood diarrhoea-causing infectious agents.
E. coli is a bacteria that normally lives in the intestines of most people and most types are harmless. Enteropathogenic E. coli (or EPEC) is a special kind of E. coli that lets it attach to intestinal cells. Some types of EPEC may cause diarrhea.
EPEC is most likely transmitted from one person with the infection to another.
EPEC causes diarrhea in infants and children in developing countries. EPEC has been detected in the stool of many healthy children with no diarrhea in the United States. Therefore it is not clear if finding EPEC in children with diarrhea in the US means that it is the cause of their diarrhea.
Potential treatment options:
Prevent dehydration by drinking fluids. For young children, use a rehydration solution. Even a few sips or spoonfuls at a time can help. Warning signs of dehydration include dry mouth, decreased urination, or dizziness.
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