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Influence of Season and Feedlot Location on Prevalence and Virulence Factors of Seven Serogroups of Escherichia coli in Feces of Western-Canadian Slaughter Cattle

Influence of Season and Feedlot Location on Prevalence and Virulence Factors of Seven Serogroups of Escherichia coli in Feces of Western-Canadian Slaughter Cattle

Plos One 11(8): E0159866

Pooled feces collected over two years from 1749 transport trailers hauling western-Canadian slaughter cattle were analysed by PCR for detection of Escherichia coli serogroups O26, O45, O103, O111, O121, O145, and O157. Sequential immunomagnetic separation was then used to collect bacterial isolates (n = 1035) from feces positive for target serogroups. Isolated bacteria were tested by PCR to confirm serogroup and the presence of eae, ehxA, stx1, and stx2 virulence genes. Based on PCR screening, serogroup prevalence in feces ranged from 7.0% (O145) to 94.4% (O103) with at least 3 serogroups present in 79.5% of samples. Origin of cattle affected serogroup PCR prevalence and O157 was most prevalent in feces from south-west Alberta (P < 0.001). All serogroups demonstrated seasonal variations in PCR prevalence, with O26, O45, O103, O121, and O157 least prevalent (P < 0.001) in cooler winter months, while uncommon serogroups O111 and O145 increased in prevalence during winter (P < 0.001). However, isolates collected during winter were predominantly from serogroups O103 and O45. No seasonal variation was noted in proportion of isolates which were Shiga toxin containing E. coli (STEC; P = 0.18) or positive for Shiga toxin and eae (enterohemorrhagic E. coli; EHEC; P = 0.29). Isolates of serogroups O111, O145, and O157 were more frequently EHEC than were others, although 37.6-54.3% of isolates from other serogroups were also EHEC. Shiga-toxin genes present also varied by geographic origin of cattle (P < 0.05) in all serogroups except O157. As cattle within feedlots are sourced from multiple regions, locational differences in serogroup prevalence and virulence genes imply existence of selection pressures for E. coli and their virulence in western-Canadian cattle. Factors which reduce carriage or expression of virulence genes, particularly in non-O157 serogroups, should be investigated.

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Accession: 058110275

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PMID: 27482711

DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0159866

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