Enterohemorrhagic E.coli (EHEC) cause epidemic and sporadic gastrointestinal infections worldwide. Many publications have reported EHEC to be the 3rd most frequent cause of bacterial gastrointestinal infection after Salmonella and Campylobacter. The clinical symptoms associated with EHEC go from light diarrhoeas passing for serious gastroenteritis until haemorrhagic colitis (HC), which appear in approx. 10 – 20 % of the infections.
Verotoxin production is the main virulence factor causing these complications. Two types of verotoxins, also called Shiga-like toxins, have been described, vtx-1 (or stx-1) and vtx-2 (or stx-2) , and pathogenic strains of E.coli may produce both, neither or only one of these toxins.
The drastic increase in the incidence of these gastrointestinal infections caused by E. coli O157 and others serotypes belong to the group EHEC, demands reliable and rapids methods of detection. In addition to traditional culture methods, immunological techniques are becoming more useful due to their improved specificity and sensitivity. This is an immunological screening test based on the immune flow principle.