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 Table of Contents  
Year : 2022  |  Volume : 66  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 386-388  

Occurrence of atypical enteropathogenic Escherichia coli with multidrug-resistant trait in street food of Northeast India

1 PhD Scholar, Department of Biotechnology, Assam University, Silchar, Assam, India
2 Professor, Department of Biotechnology, Assam University, Silchar, Assam, India
3 Assistant Professor, Department of Microbiology, Assam University, Silchar, Assam, India
4 Associate Professor, Department of Zoology, Cachar College, Silchar, Assam, India

Date of Submission09-Mar-2022
Date of Decision29-Jul-2022
Date of Acceptance30-Jul-2022
Date of Web Publication22-Sep-2022

Correspondence Address:
Pranab Behari Mazumder
Department of Biotechnology, Assam University, Silchar - 788 011, Assam
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijph.ijph_347_22

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How to cite this article:
Roy S, Mazumder PB, Bhattacharjee A, Chakraborty A. Occurrence of atypical enteropathogenic Escherichia coli with multidrug-resistant trait in street food of Northeast India. Indian J Public Health 2022;66:386-8

How to cite this URL:
Roy S, Mazumder PB, Bhattacharjee A, Chakraborty A. Occurrence of atypical enteropathogenic Escherichia coli with multidrug-resistant trait in street food of Northeast India. Indian J Public Health [serial online] 2022 [cited 2023 Jan 31];66:386-8. Available from:


Diarrheal disease is responsible for morbidity and mortality worldwide, especially among children under 5 years of age.[1] Food poisoning has been one of the major causes of diarrhea due to various enteric pathogens which pose a serious impact on public health. One such enteric foodborne pathogen is diarrheagenic enteropathogenic Escherichia coli (EPEC) whose role has been implicated in several foodborne outbreaks and is responsible for mortality and morbidity of children. Management of these pathogens has become more complicated due to the emergence of antibiotic resistance in enteropathogens which has presented a great threat to public health.[2] Identifying the virulence and the antimicrobial-resistance determinants will provide a means to track potential reservoirs of these pathogenic strains. As street foods have a high risk of exposure to pathogenic microbes and can act as a transmission vector of microbes to the community, this study was thus undertaken to identify the pathogenic E. coli in the street food and determine their resistance pattern.

Silchar is a multicultural business place which is connected to four other states namely, Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura, and Meghalaya and a significant portion of its population consumes food from street vending units. The samples, i.e., Panipuri (fried puffy balls served with spiced mashed potato and spiced sour tamarind water; a famous street food of this town) were collected dividing the town into five clusters covering its central, eastern, western, northern, and southern parts and the samples were collected from those vendors whose vending units were located in places having high human activities. A total of 150 Panipuri samples (boiled mashed potato and spiced sour water) were collected from 75 street vendors covering all the five different clusters for a duration of 6 months, i.e., from August 2019 to February 2020. The samples were collected from the same vendor for consecutive 3 days. Eighty-seven E. coli isolates were isolated from Panipuri samples, i.e., from the sour water and the spiced mashed potato. All the isolates were then screened for the presence of EPEC virulence genes, eae or bfpA by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay using primers eae F (5'-CTCCGATTCCTCTGGTGACG-3') and eae R (5'AAGTGGCGAAGTCATCTCCG-3'); bfpA F (5'-CGTTACCGCAGGTGTGATGT-3') and bfpA R (5'AGCAGTCGATTTAGCAGCCT-3')). PCR conditions for detection of both the virulence genes were as follows: initial denaturation at 95°C for 3 min, 34 cycles of 95°C for 25 s, 50°C for 40 s, 72°C for 1 min, and final extension of 72°C for 7 min.

EPEC isolates were subjected to susceptibility testing (Kirby–Bauer disc diffusion) against 12 β-lactams and non-β-lactams (aminoglycosides and quinolones) and the results were interpreted as per the Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute (CLSI) 2020 guidelines. Based on the antibiotic susceptibility results, genes encoding extended-spectrum β-lactamases, ampC type β-lactamases, aminoglycoside resistance, and quinolone resistance were also characterized by PCR assay using the previous conditions.[3],[4]

Eight EPEC isolates were recovered from the food samples and were designated as atypical EPEC subtypes as they possessed eae gene encoding intimin protein while lacking bundle-forming pilus (bfp) genes [Figure 1]. Four out of eight EPEC isolates showed resistance to multiple antibiotics [Table 1]. Furthermore, screening for the antimicrobial-resistance genes revealed the coexistence of blaTEM and aminoglycoside-resistance determinants among four EPEC isolates, whereas two out of these four isolates also harbored the blaFOX gene [Table 1]. However, none of the EPEC isolates carried quinolone-resistance genes.
Table 1: Multidrug.resistance profile of enteropathogenic Escherichia coli study isolates

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Figure 1: Amplification of eae gene (796bp) of EPEC. Lane 1: Ladder, Lane 2: Positive control, Lane 4: Negative control, Lane 11, 12, 13, 15, 16: PCR products showing amplified eae gene at 796bp.

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These antibiotic-resistance genes besides the virulence genes carried out by EPEC can easily be disseminated to the gastrointestinal tract of consumers through the food posing a potent threat to public health. This study, therefore, warrants proper surveillance and appropriate actions to track and constrain the transmission of such strains to the environment.

The manuscript has been submitted for the Institutional Ethics Committee (IEC) clearance and IEC has categorized the study under exempted category vide letter number IEC/AUS/2022/03/AB dated June 15, 2022.


The authors would like to acknowledge the support of the Institutional Biotech Hub, Cachar College, Silchar, for providing the infrastructural facility.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

   References Top

Diarrhoeal Disease; 2016. Available from: newsroom/factsheets/detail/diarrhoealdisease. [Last assessed on 2022 Jul 07].  Back to cited text no. 1
Malvi S, Appannanavar S, Mohan B, Kaur H, Gautam N, Bharti B, et al. Comparative analysis of virulence determinants, antibiotic susceptibility patterns and serogrouping of atypical enteropathogenic Escherichia coli versus typical enteropathogenic E. Coli in India. J Med Microbiol 2015;64:1208-15.  Back to cited text no. 2
Paul D, Mazumder NB, Wangkheimayum J, Bhattacharjee A. Report of a carbapenemase gene blaIMP-4 in multi-drug resistant Escherichia coli from sewage water: A threat on clinical-environmental interphase. Indian J Med Microbiol 2021;39:556-7.  Back to cited text no. 3
Dallenne C, Da Costa A, Decré D, Favier C, Arlet G. Development of a set of multiplex PCR assays for the detection of genes encoding important beta-lactamases in enterobacteriaceae. J Antimicrob Chemother 2010;65:490-5.  Back to cited text no. 4


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  [Table 1]


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