Isolation of shiga-toxigenic Escherichia coli O157 from hide surfaces and the oral cavity of finished beef feedlot cattle

James E. Keen, Robert O. Elder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

118 Scopus citations


Objective - To determine whether viable shiga-toxigenic Escherichia coli (STEC) O157 could be isolated from hide surface locations and the oral cavity of finished beef feedlot cattle. Design - Within-animal prevalence distribution survey. Animals - 139 finished cattle in 4 pens in a feedlot in Nebraska; prevalence of fecal STEC O157 shedding ranged from 20 to > 90%. Procedure - Samples were collected from 7 sites from each animal: feces, oral cavity, and 5 hide surface locations (lumbar region, ventral aspect of the neck, ventral abdominal midline [ventrum], dorsal thoracic midline [back], and distal aspect of the left hind limb [hock]). Results - Viable STEC O157 were isolated from the oral cavity or 1 or more hide surfaces of 130 cattle, including 50 fecal isolation-negative cattle. Site-specific prevalence of STEC O157 was 74.8% for oral cavity samples, 73.4% for back samples, 62.6% for neck samples, 60.4% for fecal samples, 54.0% for flank samples, 51.1% for ventrum samples, and 41.0% for hock samples. Only 5 cattle tested negative for STEC O157 at all 7 sites. Multiple correspondence and cluster analyses demonstrated that bacterial culture of feces, oral cavity samples, and back samples detected most cattle with STEC O157. Conclusions and Clinical Relevance - Results suggest that viable STEC O157 may be isolated from the oral cavity, multiple hide surfaces, and feces of a high percentage of fed beef cattle and that bacterial culture of feces alone generally underestimates the percentage of fed beef cattle from which STEC O157 can be isolated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)756-763
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the American Veterinary Medical Association
Issue number6
StatePublished - Mar 15 2002
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • veterinary(all)


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