Multiplex PCR and DNA array for the detection of Bacillus cereus, Staphylococcus aureus, Listeria monocytogenes, Escherichia coli O157:H7, and Salmonella spp. targeting virulence-related genes
Escherichia coli O157 strains have emerged as important human enteric pathogens. Strains that express the O-antigen 157 are commonly associated with severe clinical manifestations, including bloody diarrhea, hemorrhagic colitis, and hemolytic uremic syndrome. E. coli O157 strains may be transmitted in a variety of ways, including food, water and person-to-person or animal-to-person contact. Fecal contamination is one source of environmental contamination and is responsible for the presence of these pathogens in the environment. We used a specific and sensitive PCR assay based on the rfbE gene to detect low levels of these pathogens in wastewater. The set of primers used was designed to amplify an intragenic segment of the rfbE gene. The amplification assay detected 200 CFU of E. coli O157 in pure water. The prevalence of E. coli O157 in the effluents of 44 wastewater treatment plants was determined (7%).