Diarrheal diseases can lead to infections and cause morbidity and mortality in children. Diarrheagenic Escherichia coli (DEC) is an etiological agent, which is considered the major causative agent of diarrhea in children in some developing countries. The aims of this work were to estimate Escherichia coli (E. coli) causing diarrhea in children less than 5 years old, and to detect some biofilm virulence factors and the effect of some antibiotics. For the methodology, a total of 112 specimens were collected from children from two health centers, Al-Zahraa Teaching Hospital and Public Health Laboratory (located in Al-Kut city/ and the Wasit province in Iraq). All specimens were grown on simple and rich media. A total of 43 (38.4%) E. coli isolates were identified using different traditional methods, such as biochemical tests and 16S rRNA sequencing. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing was used to detect some virulence factor genes that play an important role in the pathogenesis of diarrheic E. coli e.g., 16S rRNA, bfpA, and eaeA. In this study, several antibiotics were used to estimate the sensitivity and resistivity of E. coli isolates. A total of 43 isolates were fully identified as E. coli. These samples were used to detect the virulence factor genes, and 31 (72.1%) and 29 (29.4%) isolates carried bfpA and eaeA, respectively. The preponderance of E. coli isolates were completely resistant to penicillin 43 (100%). Additionally, 33 (76.7%) and 27 (62.8%) isolates were resistant to cephalothin and amoxycillin-clavulanic acid, respectively. Furthermore, the isolates of E. coli isolates showed different levels of sensitivity to antibiotics, including polymyxin B 40 (93%), norfloxacin 38 (88.4%), gentamycin 26 (60.4%), and meropenem 22 (51.2%). In conclusion, diarrheagenic E. coli isolates were the prevalent among diarrheic children. Most isolates showed varying results for the presence of virulence factors. In addition, all isolates were resistant to penicillin and sensitive to polymyxin B.
Diarrheagenic Escherichia coli (DEC), children, antibiotics
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