As with Shiga toxin, the toxin requires highly specific receptors on the cells' surface in order to attach and enter the cell; species such as cattle, swine, and deer which do not carry these receptors may harbor toxigenic bacteria without any ill effect, shedding them in their feces, from where they may be spread to humans.
The syndromes associated with shiga toxin include dysentery, hemorrhagic colitis, and hemolytic uremic syndrome. The name is dependent upon the causative organism and the symptoms, which may include severe diarrhea, abdominal pain, vomiting, and bloody urine (in the case of hemolytic uremic syndrome).
The onset of symptoms is generally within a few hours, with higher doses leading to more rapid onset. There is no antidote for the toxin. Supportive care requires maintenance of fluid and electrolyte levels, and monitoring and support of kidney function.
Immunoassays are available for rapid diagnosis of the toxin.
Inactivation of the toxin is achieved by steam treatment, oxidizing agents such as bleach, and chemical sterilizing agents such as glutaraldehyde.
The toxicity of Shiga Toxin for the mouse (LD50) is <20 micrograms/kg by intravenous or intraperitoneal administration. There is no published data on the inhalation toxicity of Shiga toxin. However, there are often indirect effects on the lungs when the toxin is taken in as a food contaminant.
The toxin is effective against small blood vessels, such as found in the digestive tract, the kidney, and lungs, but not against large vessels such as the arteries or major veins. A specific target for the toxin appears to the vascular endothelium of the glomerulus. This is the filtering structure that is a key to the function of the kidney. Destroying these structures leads to kidney failure and the development of the often deadly and frequently debilitating hemolytic uremic syndrome. Food poisoning with Shiga toxin often also has effects on the lungs and the nervous system.
Isolation of E. coli O157:H7 from sporadic cases of hemorrhagic colitis - United States.(reprinted from the November 5, 1982 issue)
Aug 01, 1997; Since the beginning of August 1982, stool isolates of Escherichia coli serotype O157:H7 have been identified at CDC from...