Hemolytic uremic syndrome due to Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli infection

Publié le 1 Mai 2018
Mis à jour le 5 juillet 2019

The leading cause of hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) in children is Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) infection, which has a major outbreak potential. Since the early 2010s, STEC epidemiology is characterized by a decline of the historically predominant O157 serogroup and the emergence of non-O157 STEC, especially O26 and O80 in France. STEC contamination occurs through the ingestion of contaminated food or water, person-to-person transmission, or contact with ruminants or their contaminated environment. The main symptom is diarrhea, which is bloody in about 60% of patients and occurs after a median incubation period of three days. Shiga toxins released by STEC induce a cascade of thrombogenic and inflammatory changes of microvascular endothelial cells. HUS is observed in 5-15% of STEC infection cases, defined by the triad of mechanical hemolytic anemia, thrombocytopenia, and acute renal injury. The diagnosis of STEC infection relies on biological screening for Shiga toxins and STEC in stools and serology. Treatment of STEC-HUS is mainly symptomatic, as no specific drug has proved effective. The effect of antibiotics in STEC infection and STEC-HUS remains debated; however, some bacteriostatic antibiotics might have a beneficial effect. Proofs of evidence of a benefit from complement blockade therapy in STEC-HUS are also lacking. Clinical and bacteriological STEC-HUS surveillance needs to be continued. Ongoing prospective studies will document the role of bacteriostatic antibiotics in STEC infection and STEC-HUS, and of complement blockade therapy in STEC-HUS.

Auteur : Bruyand M, Mariani Kurkdjian P, Gouali M, de Valk H, King LA, Le Hello S, Bonacorsi S, Loirat C
Médecine et maladies infectieuses, 2018, vol. 48, n°. 3, p. 167-174