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Promising Diarrhea Research

Every year hundreds of thousands of people globally die from diarrheal diseases caused by Enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC) bacteria.

Now, Swedish researchers have mapped the spread of strains of ETEC bacteria around the world, providing key information about how pathogenic bacteria originate. This data will aid Swedish researchers currently developing a diarrhea vaccine.

A study published in Nature Genetics describes how researchers at the University of Gothenburg’s Sahlgrenska Academy, in collaboration with colleagues from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in the UK, Karolinska Institutet in Sweden and universities in Japan, Germany and the USA, among others, used comprehensive DNA analyses to determine the ETEC bacteria’s genetic composition – an analysis that also makes it possible to map how the bacteria spreads.

About 400 million cases of diarrhea and 400,000 deaths in the world’s low- and middle-income countries annually are blamed on ETEC bacteria. Children under age 5 are most vulnerable.