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Temporal Patterns and Risk Factors for Escherichia coli O157 and Campylobacter spp. in Young Cattle

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Escherichia coli O157 and Campylobacter jejuni and Campylobacter coli are zoonotic pathogens originating from farm animals. Cattle are the main reservoir for E. coli O157 and also contribute to human cases of campylobacteriosis through contaminated milk, direct contact, and environmental contamination. Thirty groups of young cattle on 30 farms were observed for 7 months and sampled on 4 to 6 separate occasions for E. coli O157 and C. jejuni/coli to characterize shedding patterns and identify risk factors. The within herd prevalence of E. coli O157 per sampling occasion ranged from 0 to 60% (mean = 24%) and average Campylobacter spp. within herd prevalence was 47% ranging from 0 to 100%. The prevalence of E. coli O157–positive herds declined with a linear trend throughout the study from 100 to 38% (OR: 0.5, P < 0.01), whereas time in the study was not significantly associated with Campylobacter prevalence (P = 0.13). Larger herds were more likely to be positive with either or both agents, whereas the number of suckler calves on the farm reduced the risk of both organisms (OR: 0.4/0.6, P = 0.01). Poultry on the premises reduced the risk of E. coli O157, but was not associated with Campylobacter. Emptying and cleaning the water troughs more often than once monthly reduced the risk of detecting Campylobacter and cattle sourced by private water supplies were more likely to be Campylobacter positive. No drinking water management practices were associated with E. coli O157. The risk of detecting both organisms were almost five times higher when the cattle were housed indoors (OR: 4.9, P = 0.03).

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Centre for Epidemiology and Risk Analyses, Veterinary Laboratories Agency, New Haw, Surrey KT15 3NB, UK;, Email: 2: Centre for Epidemiology and Risk Analyses, Veterinary Laboratories Agency, New Haw, Surrey KT15 3NB, UK 3: Veterinary Laboratories Agency, Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk IP33 2RX, UK 4: Department of Farm Animal Health, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Utrecht University, Marburglaan 2, 3584 CN, Utrecht, The Netherlands

Publication date: March 1, 2009

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