The molecular epidemiology and biology of uropathogenic Escherichia coli.
Urinary tract infections encompass a broad range of infectious conditions, symptoms and causative agents, and are influenced by an array of host and agent factors. Escherichia coli is by far the most common cause of urinary tract infections (UTI) and accounts for 80% of ambulatory UTI. Uropathogenic E. coli (UPEC) possess characteristics that enable them to cause infections of the urinary tract, and differentiate them from the normal flora. These include adhesins, toxins, a capsule, siderophores and an outer membrane protease.