Chapter 1 : Overview and Historical Perspectives

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The scope of topics covered in this book reflects the broad areas of research required for the comprehensive study of Shiga toxin-producing (STEC) infections. Substantial progress has been made in all of these areas since the first edition of this book ( ). Although this second edition brings the field up to date in all major areas of research, these pathogens have a long and complicated history, and understanding this history is valuable for a full understanding of this field. The purpose of this chapter is to set the stage for this book by examining the seminal discoveries about STEC biology, epidemiology, and pathogenesis. In this article, we refer to the cytotoxins of O157:H7, O104:H4, and other as Shiga toxins (Stxs; formerly called Shiga-like toxins), hence the nomenclature STEC. However, for reasons described below, a number of investigators prefer the term verotoxin (VT). We refer the reader to past discussions of nomenclature ( ) for a better understanding of the historical basis for the dichotomy in nomenclature. Additionally, a recently published multicenter study by Scheutz and colleagues ( ) provides clear guidance on nomenclature for Stx subtypes. Scheutz reviews that typing scheme in chapter 2 of this volume.

Citation: Kaper J, O’Brien A. 2015. Overview and Historical Perspectives, p 3-13. In Sperandio V, Hovde C (ed), Enterohemorrhagic and Other Shiga Toxin-Producing . ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/microbiolspec.EHEC-0028-2014
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