Prevalence and virulence factors of Escherichia coli serogroups O26, O103, O111, and O145 shed by cattle in Scotland

M C Pearce, J Evans, I J McKendrick, A W Smith, H I Knight, D J Mellor, M E J Woolhouse, G J Gunn, J C Low

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

A national survey was conducted to determine the prevalence of Escherichia coli O26, O103, O111, and O145 in feces of Scottish cattle. In total, 6,086 fecal pats from 338 farms were tested. The weighted mean percentages of farms on which shedding was detected were 23% for E. coli O26, 22% for E. coli O103, and 10% for E. coli O145. The weighted mean prevalences in fecal pats were 4.6% for E. coli O26, 2.7% for E. coli O103, and 0.7% for E. coli 0145. No E. coli 0111 was detected. Farms with cattle shedding E. coli serogroup O26, O103, or O145 were widely dispersed across Scotland and were identified most often in summer and autumn. However, on individual farms, fecal shedding of E. coli O26, O103, or 0145 was frequently undetectable or the numbers of pats testing positive were small. For serogroup O26 or O103 there was clustering of positive pats within management groups, and the presence of an animal shedding one of these serogroups was a positive predictor for shedding by others, suggesting local transmission of infection. Carriage of vtx was rare in E. coli O103 and O145 isolates, but 49.0% of E. coli O26 isolates possessed vtx(1) invariably vtx(1) alone or vtx(1) and vtx(2) together. The carriage of eae and ehxA genes was highly associated in all three serogroups. Among E. coli serogroup O26 isolates, 28.9% carried vtx, eae, and ehxA-a profile consistent with E. coli O26 strains known to cause human disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)653-659
Number of pages7
JournalApplied and Environmental Microbiology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2006

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Animal Husbandry
  • Animals
  • cattle disease
  • Escherichia coli
  • Escherichia coli Infections
  • Scotland
  • Serotyping
  • Virulence Factors


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