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Vet Microbiol. 2003 Sep 1;95(3):199-210.

Feedstuffs as a vehicle of cattle exposure to Escherichia coli O157:H7 and Salmonella enterica.

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Field Disease Investigation Unit, Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, Washington State University, Pullman, WA 99164-6610, USA.


Feed has been reported as a vehicle for transmission of Salmonella enterica in cattle and several lines of evidence suggest that feed can be a vehicle for transmitting Escherichia coli O157:H7 as well. To show whether microbial contamination of feeds could contribute to the populations of S. enterica and E. coli O157:H7 on a farm, we compared isolates from feed samples to bovine fecal isolates from the same farm using pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE). Four of 2365 component feed samples (0.2%) and 1 of 226 feed mill samples (0.4%) were positive for E. coli O157:H7. Twenty of 2405 (0.8%) component feed samples and none of 226 feed mill samples were positive for Salmonella. PFGE profiles from E. coli O157:H7 isolated from a component feed sample closely resembled that from a fecal isolate collected later from the same farm, and a similar observation was made of a Salmonella Tyhpimurium isolate from component feed on another farm. There were indistinguishable PFGE profiles from component feed Salmonella Tyhpimurium DT104 isolates and fecal isolates from the same farm. These results provide evidence for a role of cattle feed in transmission of E. coli O157:H7; S. enterica; cattle-bacteria.

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