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Appl Environ Microbiol. 2005 Mar;71(3):1231-6.

Analyses of livestock production, waste storage, and pathogen levels and prevalences in farm manures.

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Microbiological Research Division, Direct Laboratories Ltd., Wergs Rd., Wolverhampton, West Midlands WV6 8TQ, United Kingdom.


Survey results describing the levels and prevalences of zoonotic agents in 1,549 livestock waste samples were analyzed for significance with livestock husbandry and farm waste management practices. Statistical analyses of survey data showed that livestock groups containing calves of <3 months of age, piglets, or lambs had higher prevalences and levels of Campylobacter spp. and Escherichia coli O157 in their wastes. Younger calves that were still receiving milk, however, had significantly lower levels and prevalence of E. coli O157. Furthermore, when wastes contained any form of bedding, they had lowered prevalences and levels of both pathogenic Listeria spp. and Campylobacter spp. Livestock wastes generated by stock consuming a diet composed principally of grass were less likely to harbor E. coli O157 or Salmonella spp. Stocking density did not appear to influence either the levels or prevalences of bacterial pathogens. Significant seasonal differences in prevalences were detected in cattle wastes; Listeria spp. were more likely to be isolated in March to June, and E. coli O157 was more likely to be found in May and June. Factors such as livestock diet and age also had significant influence on the levels and prevalences of some zoonotic agents in livestock wastes. A number of the correlations identified could be used as the basis of a best-practice disposal document for farmers, thereby lowering the microbiological risks associated with applying manures of contaminated livestock to land.

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