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Microbiologyopen. 2012 Sep;1(3):276-84. doi: 10.1002/mbo3.30. Epub 2012 Jul 22.

Prevalence of diarrheagenic Escherichia coli virulence genes in the feces of slaughtered cattle, chickens, and pigs in Burkina Faso.

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  • 1Bacteriology Unit, Department of Infectious Disease Surveillance and Control, National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) P.O. Box 30, FI-00271, Helsinki, Finland ; Laboratoire de Biologie Moléculaire, d'Epidémiologie et de Surveillance bactéries et virus transmis par les aliments; CRSBAN, Département de Biochimie-Microbiologie, UFR-SVT/Université de Ouagadougou 03 B.P. 7021, Ouagadougou 03, Burkina Faso.


We investigated the prevalence of the virulence genes specific for five major pathogroups of diarrheagenic Escherichia coli (DEC) in primary cultures from feces of animals slaughtered for human consumption in Burkina Faso. For the study, 704 feces samples were collected from cattle (n = 304), chickens (n = 350), and pigs (n = 50) during carcass processing. The presence of the virulence-associated genes in the mixed bacterial cultures was assessed using 16-plex polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Virulence genes indicating presence of DEC were detected in 48% of the cattle, 48% of the chicken, and 68% of the pig feces samples. Virulence genes specific for different DECs were detected in the following percentages of the cattle, chicken, and pig feces samples: Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) in 37%, 6%, and 30%; enteropathogenic E. coli (EPEC) in 8%, 37%, and 32%; enterotoxigenic E. coli (ETEC) in 4%, 5%, and 18%; and enteroaggregative E. coli (EAEC) in 7%, 6%, and 32%. Enteroinvasive E. coli (EIEC) virulence genes were detected in 1% of chicken feces samples only. The study was the first of its kind in Burkina Faso and revealed the common occurrence of the diarrheal virulence genes in feces of food animals. This indicates that food animals are reservoirs of DEC that may contaminate meat because of the defective slaughter and storage conditions and pose a health risk to the consumers in Burkina Faso.


Cattle; chickens; diarrheagenic Escherichia coli; multiplex PCR; pigs; virulence genes

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