Prevalence of Escherichia coli O157:H7 in range beef calves at weaning

Epidemiol Infect. 1999 Oct;123(2):291-8. doi: 10.1017/s0950268899002757.

Abstract

This study was designed to determine the prevalence of Escherichia coli O157:H7 infection of beef calves at weaning, prior to arrival at the feedlot or mixing with cattle from other sources. Fifteen range cow-calf herds, which weaned calves in October and November, were sampled in Kansas, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska and South Dakota. Faecal culture for E. coli O157:H7 was performed and anti-O157 serum antibody titres were determined by blocking ELISA. Thirteen of the 15 herds (87%) were found to have at least one positive isolation of E. coli O157:H7 in faecal samples. Within positive herds, prevalence ranged from 1.7-20.0%, with an average of 7.4+/-6.2% S.D. of individual animals shedding E. coli O157:H7 in faeces. All herds had high prevalence of anti-O157 antibodies, ranging 63-100% of individuals within herds seropositive. This study indicates that E. coli O157:H7 infection before weaning, prior to entry into feedlots, is widespread. Furthermore, serologic evidence suggests that most calves (83%) and all herds (100%) have been exposed to E. coli O157.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn / microbiology
  • Cattle
  • Cattle Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Cattle Diseases / microbiology*
  • Electrophoresis, Gel, Pulsed-Field
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Escherichia coli Infections / epidemiology
  • Escherichia coli Infections / microbiology
  • Escherichia coli Infections / veterinary*
  • Escherichia coli O157 / isolation & purification*
  • Kansas / epidemiology
  • Missouri / epidemiology
  • Montana / epidemiology
  • Nebraska / epidemiology
  • Prevalence
  • South Dakota / epidemiology