Skip to Main Content
U.S. Forest Service
Caring for the land and serving people

United States Department of Agriculture

Home > Search > Publication Information

  1. Share via EmailShare on FacebookShare on LinkedInShare on Twitter
    Dislike this pubLike this pub
    Author(s): James A. Higgins; Kenneth T. Belt; Jeffrey S. Karns; Jonathan Russell-Anelli; Daniel R. Shelton
    Date: 2005
    Source: Applied and Environmental Microbiology. 71: 2511-2519.
    Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
    Station: Northern Research Station
    PDF: Download Publication  (606.75 KB)


    Diarrheagenic Escherichia coli, which may include the enteropathogenic E. coli and the enterohemorrhagic E. coli, are a significant cause of diarrheal disease among infants and children in both developing and developed areas. Disease outbreaks related to freshwater exposure have been documented, but the presence of these organisms in the urban aquatic environment is not well characterized. From April 2002 through April 2004 we conducted weekly surveys of streams in the metropolitan Baltimore, Md., area for the prevalence of potentially pathogenic E. coli by using PCR assays targeting the tir and stx1 and stx2 genes. Coliforms testing positive for the presence of the tir gene were cultured from 653 of 1,218 samples (53%), with a greater prevalence associated with urban, polluted streams than in suburban and forested watershed streams. Polluted urban streams were also more likely to test positive for the presence of one of the stx genes. Sequence analysis of the tir amplicon, as well as the entire tir gene from three isolates, indicated that the pathogenic E. coli present in the stream waters has a high degree of sequence homology with the E. coli O157:H7 serotype. Our data indicate that pathogenic E. coli are continually deposited into a variety of stream habitats and suggest that this organism may be a permanent member of the gastrointestinal microflora of humans and animals in the metropolitan Baltimore area.

    Publication Notes

    • Check the Northern Research Station web site to request a printed copy of this publication.
    • Our on-line publications are scanned and captured using Adobe Acrobat.
    • During the capture process some typographical errors may occur.
    • Please contact Sharon Hobrla, if you notice any errors which make this publication unusable.
    • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.


    Higgins, James A.; Belt, Kenneth T.; Karns, Jeffrey S.; Russell-Anelli, Jonathan; Shelton, Daniel R. 2005. tir- and stx- positive Escherichia coli in stream waters in a metropolitan area. Applied and Environmental Microbiology. 71: 2511-2519.

    Related Search

    XML: View XML
Show More
Show Fewer
Jump to Top of Page