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J Appl Bacteriol. 1985 Feb;58(2):131-8.

The ecology of Escherichia coli in calves reared as dairy-cow replacements.


A continual turn-over in the strains forming the majority of faecal Escherichia coli flora was demonstrated in 16 calves reared as dairy cow replacements. The incidence of antibiotic resistance among isolates, as measured by an Antibiotic Resistance Index (ARI), changed markedly with the age of the calf. The value was low initially, when the calves were 1-2 days old and housed with adult animals. It then rose rapidly during the first week after the animals had been weaned and moved into nursery pens. This change in ARI was associated with the isolation of strains resistant to four or five of the six drugs included in the sensitivity test. The ARI then fell from the third week to low levels by the time that the calves were five months of age. This fall was due to the isolation of an increasing proportion of sensitive E. coli strains. These differed from the sensitive strains which had colonized the calves in the early days of life so demonstrating that the change was not due to the reemergence of strains identified several weeks previously. The source of E. coli strains was presumed to be the calfs' environment but further investigations are required to prove this conclusively.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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