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J Appl Microbiol. 2004;97(5):1045-53.

Intermittent and persistent shedding of Escherichia coli O157 in cohorts of naturally infected calves.

Author information

1
DEFRA Epidemiology Fellowship Unit, University of Liverpool, South Wirral, UK. s.e.robinson@liv.ac.uk

Erratum in

  • J Appl Microbiol. 2005;98(5):1247.

Abstract

AIMS:

We conducted two short-term studies of cohorts of naturally infected calves to determine the prevalence and concentrations of Escherichia coli O157 shed in faeces.

METHODS AND RESULTS:

Two cohorts of calves were sampled; in the first study 14 calves were sampled up to five times a day for 5 days; in the second study a group of 16 separate calves were sampled once or twice a day for 15 days. All cattle within the two cohorts shed E. coli O157 at some point during the respective studies. In 18% of samples, E. coli O157 could only be isolated using immunomagnetic separation after an enrichment period, suggesting concentrations <250 CFU g(-1). The highest concentrations recorded were 6.7 x 10(5) and 1.6 x 10(6) CFU g(-1) for studies 1 and 2 respectively.

CONCLUSIONS:

Persistent, high shedders (shedding >10(3) CFU g(-1)) were evident in both studies but, in the majority of calves, the pathogen was isolated intermittently.

SIGNIFICANCE AND IMPACT OF THE STUDY:

The variable patterns of shedding have important implications for the design of appropriate sampling protocols and for gaining meaningful estimates of parameters used in mathematical models of transmission.

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