Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences, Department of


Date of this Version



Moxley, R.A. Special Issue: Shiga Toxin-Producing Escherichia coli. Microorganisms 2021, 9, 1. ganisms9010001


2020 by the authors.


Globally, Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) is an important cause of diarrheal disease, most notably hemorrhagic colitis, and post-diarrheal sequela, such as hemolytic-uremic syndrome (HUS) [1]. Cattle are a major reservoir of STEC, with approx- imately half of the cases in humans attributable to foodborne exposure [2]. Prevention of human illness has mainly been through food safety measures [2]. Despite extensive research, no other generally accepted and effective preventive measures or therapies for STEC infections in human patients are available [3]. Many questions remain about STEC virulence factors, pathogenesis, detection, and other aspects that necessitate a continua- tion of basic and applied research on a wide front. This Special Issue includes 14 papers (nine articles, two communications, one review, one comment, and one reply) that col- lectively provide novel information on the epidemiology [4–7], virulence factors [7–10], and pathogenesis [11–13] of STEC, and the molecular structure or toxicity [14–16] and immunodetection [17] of Shiga toxin.

A systematic review of STEC in Brazil found no data for 44% of the Brazilian states, highlighting the need for expansion of epidemiological monitoring to the entire country and alignment of food safety standards with that of international bodies [4–6]. Although STEC O111:H8 remains the leading serotype in Brazil, a diversity of other serotypes, some carrying virulence genes and belonging to specific sequence types, were isolated from human patients with bloody diarrhea and HUS, indicating the need for further studies to determine whether they have epidemiological relevance [7].