Heterogeneous shedding of Escherichia coli O157 in cattle and its implications for control

L Matthews, J C Low, D L Gally, M C Pearce, D J Mellor, J A P Heesterbeek, M Chase-Topping, S W Naylor, D J Shaw, S W J Reid, G J Gunn, M E J Woolhouse

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Identification of the relative importance of within- and between-host variability in infectiousness and the impact of these heterogeneities on the transmission dynamics of infectious agents can enable efficient targeting of control measures. Cattle, a major reservoir host for the zoonotic pathogen Escherichia coli O157, are known to exhibit a high degree of heterogeneity in bacterial shedding densities. By relating bacterial count to infectiousness and fitting dynamic epidemiological models to prevalence data from a cross-sectional survey of cattle farms in Scotland, we identify a robust pattern: approximately 80% of the transmission arises from the 20% most infectious individuals. We examine potential control options under a range of assumptions about within- and between-host variability in infection dynamics. Our results show that the within-herd basic reproduction ratio, R(0), could be reduced to
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)547-52
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS)
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2006


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