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Pathogenic potential of Escherichia coli O157 and O26 isolated from young Belgian dairy calves by recto-anal mucosal swab culturing.

Authors
  • Engelen, F1
  • Thiry, D2
  • Devleesschauwer, B3, 4
  • Heyndrickx, M5
  • Mainil, J2
  • De Zutter, L4
  • Cox, E1
  • 1 Laboratory of Immunology, Department of Virology, Parasitology and Immunology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Ghent University (UGent), Merelbeke, Belgium. , (Belgium)
  • 2 Bacteriology, Department of Infectious Diseases, Institute for Fundamental and Applied Research in Animals and Health (FARAH) and Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Liège (ULiège), Liège, Belgium. , (Belgium)
  • 3 Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, Sciensano, Brussels, Belgium. , (Belgium)
  • 4 Department of Veterinary Public Health and Food Safety, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Ghent University, Merelbeke, Belgium. , (Belgium)
  • 5 Unit Technology and Food, Institute for Agricultural and Fisheries Research (ILVO), Melle, Belgium. , (Belgium)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Journal of Applied Microbiology
Publisher
Wiley (Blackwell Publishing)
Publication Date
Aug 01, 2021
Volume
131
Issue
2
Pages
964–972
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1111/jam.14909
PMID: 33103320
Source
Medline
Keywords
Language
English
License
Unknown

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to investigate the occurrence of Escherichia coli O157 and O26 on Belgian dairy cattle farms, the presence of virulence genes in the confirmed isolates and the association of E. coli O26 presence with calf diarrhoea. In total, 233 recto-anal mucosal swabs (RAMS) were obtained from healthy and diarrheic dairy calves on three farms, each alternately visited three consecutive times. RAMS were analysed for presence of E. coli O157 and O26, and stx1, stx2 and eae virulence genes. Overall, 19% of RAMS tested positive for E. coli O157, while 31% tested positive for E. coli O26. The majority of isolates possessed both stx and eae, denoting a high pathogenic potential to humans. While both serogroups persisted at farm level, persistence within the same animal over time appeared to be relatively rare. Interestingly, E. coli O26 was already abundantly present at a younger age compared to E. coli O157. Calf diarrhoea could not be associated with presence of E. coli O26. Young dairy calves are important on-farm reservoirs of potentially pathogenic E. coli O157 and O26. A role of E. coli O26 in calf diarrhoea could not be confirmed. O157 and O26 are responsible for the majority of human STEC infections. Gaining more epidemiological information regarding their occurrence and persistence on cattle farms will contribute to a better understanding of STEC ecology and risk of human transmission. © 2020 The Society for Applied Microbiology.

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