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Characterization of O157:H7 and Other Escherichia coli Isolates Recovered from Cattle Hides, Feces, and Carcasses

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Abstract:

In a previous study, the seasonal prevalence was reported for stx + Escherichia coli O157:H7 in feces and on hides and carcasses of cattle at processing. Overall, 1,697 O157:H7 isolates have now been characterized for the incidence of (i) eae O157, hlyA, stx 1, and stx 2 in the recovered isolates and (ii) presumptive rough and presumptive nonmotile isolates. Seven O157:H7 isolates (0.4%) lacked stx genes, although they carried eae and hlyA. All but one of the isolates carried both eae and hlyA. Approximately two-thirds of the isolates (64% when one isolate per sample was considered) carried both stx 1 and stx 2. E. coli O157:H7 cells that harbored both stx 1 and stx 2 were more often recovered from hides in the fall (79% of the fall hide isolates) and winter (84% of the winter hide isolates) than in the spring (53%) and summer (59%). Isolates recovered from preevisceration carcasses showed a similar but not statistically significant trend. Twenty-three of the 25 O157:H7 isolates carrying stx 1 but not stx 2 were recovered during summer. Fifteen presumptive rough and 117 presumptive nonmotile stx + O157:H7 isolates were recovered. Ten (67%) of the presumptive rough isolates were recovered during summer. Ninety-five of the presumptive nonmotile isolates (81%) were recovered during fall. Forty-eight percent of the false-positive isolates (175 of 363) tentatively identified as O157:H7 were O157+ H7- and lacked eae O157, hlyA, and stx. These data suggest that in beef processing samples (i) there are minor seasonal variations in the prevalence of stx genes among E. coli O157:H7 isolates, (ii) presumptive rough and presumptive nonmotile stx + O157:H7 isolates are present, (iii) E. coli O157:H7 isolates lacking stx genes may be rare, and (iv) O157+ H7- isolates lacking stx genes can result in many false-positive results.

Keywords:

Document Type: Short Communication

Affiliations: 1: Roman L. Hruska U.S. Meat Animal Research Center, Agricultural Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Clay Center, Nebraska 68933-0166, USA 2: Roman L. Hruska U.S. Meat Animal Research Center, Agricultural Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Clay Center, Nebraska 68933-0166, USA 3: Roman L. Hruska U.S. Meat Animal Research Center, Agricultural Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Clay Center, Nebraska 68933-0166, USA

Publication date: May 1, 2004

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