About this Research Topic
Zoonotic bacterial pathogens like Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) experience a biphasic life-style with a host-associated phase and an environmental phase. The latter is generally characterized by fluctuating unfavorable conditions that are not supportive for growth. However, a certain degree of environmental persistence is required in order to reach new hosts. There is cumulative evidence that the serotypic and genotypic diversity among isolates obtained from the animal reservoir is generally larger than among isolates obtained from diseases humans. This might be because of differences in levels of niche specialization (generalists, specialists), increased virulence or transmission capacity of certain types, or combinations thereof. This implies there may be different ‘ecotypes’ within serotypes characterized by specific genotypic and/or phenotypic characteristics. The availability of (new) high-throughput genotypic and phenotypic characterization techniques might prove very helpful in defining such ecotypes. This research topic is welcoming manuscripts that contribute to the understanding of the complex interplay between host-specialization, virulence and environmental transmission capacity of STEC.
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