Purpose of Review: Review recent developments pertaining to the epidemiology, molecular pathogenesis, and sequelae of enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC) infections in addition to discussion of challenges for vaccinology. Recent Findings: ETEC are a major cause of diarrheal illness in resource poor areas of the world where they contribute to unacceptable morbidity and continued mortality particularly among young children; yet, precise epidemiologic estimates of their contribution to death and chronic disease have been difficult to obtain. Although most pathogenesis studies, and consequently vaccine development have focused intensively on canonical antigens, more recently identified molecules unique to the ETEC pathovar may inform our understanding of ETEC virulence, and the approach to broadly protective vaccines. Summary: ETEC undeniably continue to have a substantial impact on global health; however, further studies are needed to clarify the true impact of these infections, particularly in regions where access to care may be limited. Likewise, our present understanding of the relationship of ETEC infection to non-diarrheal sequelae is presently limited, and additional effort will be required to achieve a mechanistic understanding of these diseases and to fulfill Koch’s postulates on a molecular level. Precise elucidation of the role played by novel virulence factors, the global burden of acute illness, and the contribution of these pathogens and/or their toxins to non-diarrheal morbidity remain important imperatives.

Original languageEnglish
Article number9
JournalCurrent Infectious Disease Reports
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2019


  • Diarrhea
  • Enterotoxigenic E. coli (ETEC)
  • Environmental enteric dysfunction
  • Tropical sprue
  • Vaccine


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