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Zoonoses Public Health. 2007;54(6-7):260-77.

Pre-harvest interventions to reduce the shedding of E. coli O157 in the faeces of weaned domestic ruminants: a systematic review.

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Department of Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, McMaster University, Hamilton, ON, Canada.


Our objective was to use formal systematic review methods to evaluate the efficacy of interventions to reduce faecal shedding of Escherichia coli O157 in post-weaned ruminants by increasing animal resistance. The methodology consisted of an extensive search to identify all potentially relevant research, screening of titles and abstracts for relevance to the research question, quality assessment of relevant research, extraction of data from research of sufficient quality, and qualitative summarization of results. The interventions evaluated included probiotics, vaccination, antimicrobials, sodium chlorate, bacteriophages and other feed additives. There was evidence of efficacy for the probiotic combination Lactobacillus acidophilus NP51 (NPC 747) and Propionibacterium freudenreichii and for sodium chlorate in feed or water. The effectiveness of vaccination varied among studies and among vaccine protocols and there was no consistent evidence to suggest that antibiotic use was associated with a decrease in faecal shedding of E. coli O157, or that current industry uses of antimicrobials were associated with increased faecal shedding. There were an insufficient number of studies available to address the effectiveness of bacteriophages and several other feed additives. In general, few of the primary studies evaluated the interventions under commercial housing conditions with a natural disease challenge, there were inconsistencies in the results among study designs and in some cases among studies within study designs, and a relatively large proportion of publications were excluded based on quality assessment criteria. Few studies reported on associations between the proposed intervention and production parameters, such as average daily gain and feed: gain ratio. While the results suggest that some interventions may be efficacious, there are knowledge gaps in our understanding of the efficacy of pre-harvest interventions to increase animal resistance to E. coli O157 that require further targeted research.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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