A long-term study on the prevalence of shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) on four German cattle farms

Epidemiol Infect. 2002 Aug;129(1):173-85. doi: 10.1017/s0950268802007288.


The occurrence of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) was studied on four cattle farms. STEC were detected in 29-82% of the cattle. STEC with additional EHEC markers were detected on all farms. The occurrence of the complete virulence marker pattern (stx1 and/or stx2, eae, EHEC(hlyA), katP, espP) was correlated with the presence of known STEC serotypes. STEC O26:H11 and O165:H25 with the complete pattern of virulence markers were the most prevalent. STEC O157 (H7/H-) STEC O103:H2 and STEC O145:H- were found sporadically. Five clonal subgroups of the STEC O26:H11 isolates were identified by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis. STEC O26:H11 were present in three groups of cattle. This serotype was detected in a single group over the entire fattening period. Most STEC O26:H11 with the complete pattern of potential virulence markers were found in clinically healthy cattle. These animals may represent a risk factor for farmers and consumers.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomarkers
  • Cattle / microbiology*
  • Escherichia coli / classification
  • Escherichia coli / isolation & purification*
  • Escherichia coli / pathogenicity
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests
  • Prevalence
  • Serotyping
  • Shiga Toxin / biosynthesis*
  • Virulence


  • Biomarkers
  • Shiga Toxin