A longitudinal study of Escherichia coli O157 in cattle of a Dutch dairy farm and in the farm environment

J.M. Schouten, E.A.M. Graat, K. Frankena, A.W. van de Giessen, W.K. van der Zwaluw, M.C.M. de Jong

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From July 1999 till November 2000, a longitudinal study was conducted on a dairy farm in The Netherlands to study within herd prevalence and types of verocytotoxin producing Escherichia coli (VTEC) of serogroup O157 over time, and determine environmental reservoirs and possible transmission routes. Faeces, blood, milk and environmental samples were collected 14 times with intervals varying from 4 to 10 weeks during the study period. Faecal samples were selectively cultured for Escherichia coli O157. Isolates were tested by PCR for the most common virulence genes, VTI, VTII and eae, and typed by pulsed field gel electrophoresis. In total, 71 isolates were obtained, of which 49 from dairy cows, 8 from young stock, 5 from other animals and 9 from the environment. Positive samples were all detected in summer and early fall. VT- and eae-genes were found in all tested isolates, except in one. DNA typing showed that three clusters of O157 isolates could be identified. One of these clusters contained samples of two shedding seasons, indicating persistence on the farm during winter and spring. Repeated measures analysis of variance showed that cows with O157 VTEC infection had higher daily milk production in the period preceding sampling (p = 0.0055). There was no significant association between the results of the LPS-ELISA on serum samples from dairy cows and their O157 status
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)193-204
JournalVeterinary Microbiology
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - 2005


  • hemolytic-uremic syndrome
  • experimental-infection
  • prevalence
  • outbreak
  • calves
  • transmission
  • sheep

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