This study was undertaken to determine the frequency of potentially pathogenic Escherichia coli (E. coli) strains among E. coli isolated from Casablanca, Morocco. The E. coli strains were isolated from ground beef (n = 140), turkey (n = 200), sausage (n = 120), seafood (n = 60), domestic water (n = 35) and well water (n = 50). The prevalence of E. coli was 48%, 45%, 35.5%, 30%, 8.3%, 0%, for well water, ground beef, turkey, sausage, sea food and domestic water, respectively. Two hundreds E. coli isolates were tested for the presence of 17 virulence genes associated with strains causing intestinal and extra-intestinal infections. The virulence genes included stx1, stx2, lt, st, hlyA, aggA, saa, astA, iucD, cnf1, eaeA, bfpA, ial, ipaH, afa, pap and sfa. PCR showed that 37% (74) of E. coli isolates carried one or more of these virulence genes. No virulence genes were found in E. coli strains isolated from sea food samples. In contrast, 10% of the ground beef samples, 18% of the turkey samples, 17.5% of sausage samples and 6% of well water contained specific factors for intestinal E. coli pathogens. © 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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