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Adv Food Nutr Res. 2010;60:67-117. doi: 10.1016/S1043-4526(10)60004-6.

Escherichia coli O157:H7: recent advances in research on occurrence, transmission, and control in cattle and the production environment.

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U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, U.S. Meat Animal Research Center, Clay Center, Nebraska, USA.


Escherichia coli O157:H7 is a zoonotic pathogen that is an important cause of human foodborne and waterborne disease, with a spectrum of illnesses ranging from asymptomatic carriage and diarrhea to the sometimes fatal hemolytic uremic syndrome. Outbreaks of E. coli O157:H7 disease are often associated with undercooked beef, but there are other sources of transmission, including water, produce, and animal contact, which can often be linked directly or indirectly to cattle. Thus, preharvest control of this pathogen in cattle production should have a large impact on reducing the risk of human foodborne illness. In this review, we will summarize preharvest research on E. coli O157:H7 in cattle and the production environment, focusing on factors that may influence the transmission, prevalence, and levels of this pathogen, such as season, diet, high-level shedders, and animal stress. In addition, we will discuss recent research on the reduction of this pathogen in cattle production, including vaccination, probiotics, bacteriophage, and manure treatments.

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