We identified different diarrheagenic (DEC) Escherichia coli
pathotypes isolated from 1,207 children with and without acute endemic diarrhea in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil collected as part of a case-control study. Since the identification of DEC cannot be based on only biochemical and culture criteria, we used a multiplex polymerase chain reaction developed by combining five specific primer pairs for Enteropathogenic Escherichia coli
(EPEC), Shiga toxin-producing E. coli
/ Enterohaemorrhagic E. coli
(STEC/EHEC), Enterotoxigenic E. coli
(ETEC) and Enteroaggregative E. coli
(EAEC) to detect these pathotypes simultaneously in a single-step reaction. In order to distinguish typical and atypical EPEC strains, these were tested for the presence of EAF plasmid. The prevalence of diarrheagenic E. coli
in this sample of a global case-control study was 25.4% (259 patients) and 18.7% (35 patients) in the diarrhea group (1,020 patients) and the control group (187 patients), respectively. The most frequently isolated pathotype was EAEC (10.7%), followed by atypical EPEC (9.4%), ETEC (3.7%), and STEC (0.6%). Typical EPEC was detected only in one sample. The prevalence of the pathotypes studied in children with diarrhea was not significantly different from that in children without diarrhea.