Metapopulation dynamics of Escherichia coli O157 in cattle: an exploratory model

Wei-chung Liu, Louise Matthews, Margo Chase-Topping, Nicholas Savill, Darren J Shaw, Mark E J Woolhouse

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Livestock movement is thought to be a risk factor for the transmission of infectious diseases of farm animals. Simple mathematical models were constructed for the transmission of Escherichia coli serogroup O157 between Scottish cattle farms, and the models were used in a preliminary exploration of factors contributing to the levels of infection reported in the field. The results suggest that cattle movement can make a significant contribution to the observed prevalence of E. coli O157-positive farms, but is not by itself sufficient for the persistence of E. coli O157. The results also suggest that cattle movements involving infected farms with cattle shedding an exceptional amount of E. coli O157, 'super-shedders', also make a substantial contribution to the prevalence of infected farms. Simulations indicate that E. coli O157 could have reached the currently observed prevalence levels in less than a decade. Implications and findings from our models are discussed in relation to possible control of E. coli O157 in Scottish cattle.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)917-24
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the Royal Society, Interface
Issue number16
Publication statusPublished - 2007


  • Animals
  • Cattle
  • Cattle Diseases/epidemiology
  • Cattle Diseases/microbiology
  • Escherichia coli Infections/epidemiology
  • Escherichia coli Infections/veterinary
  • Escherichia coli O157/isolation & purification
  • Models, Biological
  • Prevalence
  • Scotland/epidemiology
  • Time Factors


Dive into the research topics of 'Metapopulation dynamics of Escherichia coli O157 in cattle: an exploratory model'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this