Longitudinal study of Escherichia coli O157:H7 in a beef cattle feedlot and role of high-level shedders in hide contamination

Terrance M. Arthur, James E. Keen, Joseph M. Bosilevac, Dayna M. Brichta-Harhay, Norasak Kalchayanand, Steven D. Shackelford, Tommy L. Wheeler, Xiangwu Nou, Mohammad Koohmaraie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

110 Scopus citations

Abstract

The objectives of the study described here were (i) to investigate the dynamics of Escherichia coli O157:H7 fecal and hide prevalence over a 9-month period in a feedlot setting and (ii) to determine how animals shedding E. coli O157:H7 at high levels affect the prevalence and levels of E. coli O157:H7 on the hides of other animals in the same pen. Cattle (n = 319) were distributed in 10 adjacent pens, and fecal and hide levels of E. coli O157:H7 were monitored. When the fecal pen prevalence exceeded 20%, the hide pen prevalence was usually (25 of 27 pens) greater than 80%. Sixteen of 19 (84.2%) supershedder (>104 CFU/g) pens had a fecal prevalence greater than 20%. Significant associations with hide and high-level hide (≥40 CFU/100 cm 2) contamination were identified for (i) a fecal prevalence greater than 20%, (ii) the presence of one or more high-density shedders (≥200 CFU/g) in a pen, and (iii) the presence of one or more supershedders in a pen. The results presented here suggest that the E. coli O157:H7 fecal prevalence should be reduced below 20% and the levels of shedding should be kept below 200 CFU/g to minimize the contamination of cattle hides. Also, large and unpredictable fluctuations within and between pens in both fecal and hide prevalence of E. coli O157:H7 were detected and should be used as a guide when preharvest studies, particularly preharvest intervention studies, are designed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6515-6523
Number of pages9
JournalApplied and environmental microbiology
Volume75
Issue number20
DOIs
StatePublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Food Science
  • Ecology
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

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