Studies of the presence of verocytotoxic Escherichia coli O157 in bovine faeces submitted for diagnostic purposes in England and Wales and on beef carcases in abattoirs in the United Kingdom

Epidemiol Infect. 1998 Mar;120(2):187-92. doi: 10.1017/s0950268897008583.


A survey of beef carcases in abattoirs in the UK was carried out in order to estimate the prevalence of contamination with verocytotoxin-producing Escherichia coli (VTEC) serogroup O157. Contamination with verocytotoxin-producing E. coli (VTEC) O157 was confirmed in 0.47% of the 4067 (95% confidence limits 0.22-1.00%) of neck muscle samples. A significant tendency for carcases present in the same abattoir on the same day to have similar results was found, thus suggesting cross contamination. VTEC O157 was found in 0.83% of 6495 bovine faeces samples routinely submitted for diagnostic purposes to Veterinary Investigation Centres in England and Wales. Of the samples from cattle less than 6 months old, 3.7% of 68 samples from animals without gastrointestinal disease were positive for E. coli O157, in contrast to 0.75% of 2321 samples from cases of gastrointestinal disease. No association with season or herd type (beef or dairy) was found.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Abattoirs*
  • Age Distribution
  • Animals
  • Cattle
  • Cattle Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Cattle Diseases / microbiology*
  • Cattle Diseases / prevention & control
  • Escherichia coli Infections / epidemiology*
  • Escherichia coli Infections / microbiology*
  • Escherichia coli Infections / prevention & control
  • Escherichia coli Infections / veterinary
  • Escherichia coli O157*
  • Feces / microbiology*
  • Population Surveillance
  • Prevalence
  • United Kingdom / epidemiology
  • Wales / epidemiology