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Persistence of verocytotoxin-producing Escherichia coli O157:H7 in calves kept on pasture and in calves kept indoors during the summer months in a Swedish dairy herd



Persistence of verocytotoxin-producing Escherichia coli O157:H7 in calves kept on pasture and in calves kept indoors during the summer months in a Swedish dairy herd



International Journal of Food Microbiology 66(1/2): 55-61



In 1997, a Swedish dairy farm was implicated in a human case of verocytotoxigenic Escherichia coli (VTEC) infection. The bacterium was found in a faecal sample from the human case and in faecal samples from cattle on the farm. Subtyping with pulsed field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) showed that the isolates were identical. The farm was further studied to assess the occurrence and the epidemiology of the agent at the farm level. The objective of this part of the study presented here was to examine the persistence of VTEC O157:H7 in calves that were kept on pasture and indoors, respectively, during the summer. Twelve calves in the herd, with one positive faecal sample each of VTEC O157:H7 in April 1999, were followed by faecal sampling during the summer months. Six calves were kept indoors and six were kept on pasture. Faecal samples from each calf were collected once a month on five occasions from April to September. Bacterial examination was performed with immunomagnetic separation (IMS) and cultivation on CT-SMAC. PCR was used to test for the presence of genes encoding for verocytotoxin (VT), intimin (eaeA), enterohemorrhagic E. coli-hemolysin (EHEC-Hly) and the flagellar antigen H7. PFGE was used for genotyping the isolates. The faecal samples from the calves kept on pasture were negative during the whole period. It is possible that the faecal samples had bacterial counts lower than the detection limits for our procedure, or that the faecal samples were free from the bacteria at the time of sampling. This suggests that calves on pasture may be less exposed to the bacteria or that they clear themselves. In the pen group, there were between one and six culture positive individuals per sampling occasion. One of the calves that was housed indoors was positive in faecal culture on four consecutive samplings.

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Accession: 003521970

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PMID: 11407548

DOI: 10.1016/s0168-1605(00)00492-x



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