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Vet Microbiol. 1997 Mar;54(3-4):309-19.

Distribution and characterization of faecal verotoxin-producing Escherichia coli (VTEC) isolated from healthy cattle.

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Departamento de Microbiología y Parasitología, Facultad de Veterinaria, Universidad de Santiago, Lugo, Spain.


Faecal swabs obtained from a random sample of 268 cows and 90 calves on 19 Lugo farms were examined for verotoxin-producing Escherichia coli (VTEC). We found VTEC on 95% of the farms. The prevalence rates of VTEC infection in asymptomatic cows and calves were estimated to be 35 and 37%, respectively. The proportion of animals infected on each farm ranged from 0 to 100%. VTEC strains isolated from healthy cattle belonged to 27 O serogroups; however, 57% (85 of 149) were of one of 8 serogroups (O2, O8, O22, O77, O82, O105, O113 and O171). Nearly 60% of the bovine VTEC strains belonged to serogroups that cause haemorrhagic colitis and haemolytic uraemic syndrome in humans. The VTEC were all non-O157:H7; 91% were eae-negative and 86% produced VT2 or VT1 and VT2. These characteristics are different from those of VTEC isolated from calves with diarrhoea.

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