Detection of zoonotic diarrheagenic pathotypes of Escherichia coli in healthy household dogs
Background and Objectives: Intestinal pathotypes of Escherichia coli belong to the companion animals may poses potential risk to public health following zoonotic transmission. Therefore, this study was proposed to determine the virulence genes associated to diarrheagenic E. coli strains isolated from healthy pet dogs and their owners in the southeast of Iran, Kerman province.
Materials and Methods: Totally 168 E. coli isolates were collected from 49 healthy household dogs and their owners. Seventy isolates were obtained from non-pet owners as control group. Presence or absence of the virulence genes including eae, stx1, stx2, st1, lt1, ipaH, cnf1 and cnf2 were screened by conventional polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and dissemination pattern of the genes were studied among the various hosts.
Results: PCR examinations showed that the most frequent virulence gene was ipaH (6.1%) in dogs followed by eae in dog owners (6.1%) and in controls (8.6%). The most frequent pathotypes in dogs, their owners and controls were EIEC (6.1%), EHEC (4.08%) and EPEC (8.5%), respectively. In one of studied houses, both of dog and its owner harbored E. coli strains with same virulence profile (stx1/eae) and pathotype (EHEC).
Conclusion: These results collectively indicate that healthy household dogs probably are the mild reservoir of potential virulent E. coli strains with possible active transmission to their contact owner. However, even non-pet owners seemed to be a notable source of intestinal pathotypes, especially EPEC, for their environment. Transmission of E. coli pathotypes may occurs by direct contact with the reservoirs or ingestion of contaminated food. These pathotypes are potentially virulent and creates public health hazards. Further studies are needed for better understanding of dissemination mechanisms of E. coli pathotypes among humans and their pets.
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