• 16-plex PCR;
  • Burkina Faso;
  • diarrhoeagenic Escherichia coli

Clin Microbiol Infect 2012; 18: 901–906


The importance of diarrhoeagenic Escherichia coli (DEC) in Africa is poorly understood, and is unknown in Burkina Faso. This study investigated the occurrence of five major DEC pathogroups in primary cultures of stool samples from 658 Burkinabe children under 5 years old using 16-plex PCR for virulence-associated genes. At least one DEC pathogroup was detected in 45% of 471 children with diarrhoea and in 29% of 187 children without diarrhoea (p <0.001). More than one DEC pathogroup was detected in 11% of children with and 1% of children without diarrhoea (p <0.001). Enteroaggregative E. coli was the most common pathogroup in both children with diarrhoea (26%) and children without diarrhoea (21%). Enteropathogenic E. coli and enterotoxigenic E. coli were detected significantly more often in children with diarrhoea (16% and 13%) than in children without diarrhoea (5% and 4%; p <0.001 for both pathogroups). Shiga toxin-producing E. coli and enteroinvasive E. coli were detected only in children with diarrhoea (2% and 1%, respectively). Diarrhoeagenic E. coli, especially enteropathogenic and enterotoxigenic, may be important, unrecognized causes of childhood diarrhoea in Burkina Faso.