Abstract / Description of output
Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) infections associated with wildlife are increasing globally, highlighting many 'spillover' species as important reservoirs for these zoonotic pathogens. A human outbreak of STEC serogroup O157 in 2015 in Scotland, associated with the consumption of venison meat products, highlighted several knowledge gaps, including the prevalence of STEC O157 in Scottish wild deer and the potential risk to humans from wild deer isolates. In this study, we undertook a nationwide survey of wild deer in Scotland and determined that the prevalence of STEC O157 in wild deer is low 0.28% (95% confidence interval = 0.06-0.80). Despite the low prevalence of STEC O157 in Scottish wild deer, identified isolates were present in deer faeces at high levels (>104 colony forming units/g faeces) and had high human pathogenic potential based on whole genome sequencing and virulence gene profiling. A retrospective epidemiological investigation also identified one wild deer isolate from this study as a possible source of a Scottish human outbreak in 2017. These results emphasise the importance of food hygiene practices during the processing of wild deer carcasses for human consumption.
Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)
- Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC)
- whole genome sequencing
- public health