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Appl Environ Microbiol. 2004 Nov;70(11):6944-7.

Verocytotoxin-producing Escherichia coli in wild birds and rodents in close proximity to farms.

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  • 1Danish Institute for Food and Veterinary Research, Copenhagen, Denmark.


Wild animals living close to cattle and pig farms (four each) were examined for verocytotoxin-producing Escherichia coli (VTEC; also known as Shiga toxin-producing E. coli). The prevalence of VTEC among the 260 samples from wild animals was generally low. However, VTEC isolates from a starling (Sturnus vulgaris) and a Norway rat (Rattus norvegicus) were identical to cattle isolates from the corresponding farms with respect to serotype, virulence profile, and pulsed-field gel electrophoresis type. This study shows that wild birds and rodents may become infected from farm animals or vice versa, suggesting a possible role in VTEC transmission.

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