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Genotypic Characterization of Non-O157 Shiga Toxin–Producing Escherichia coli in Beef Abattoirs of Argentina

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The non-O157 Shiga toxin–producing Escherichia coli (STEC) contamination in carcasses and feces of 811 bovines in nine beef abattoirs from Argentina was analyzed during a period of 17 months. The feces of 181 (22.3%) bovines were positive for non-O157 STEC, while 73 (9.0%) of the carcasses showed non-O157 STEC contamination. Non-O157 STEC strains isolated from feces (227) and carcasses (80) were characterized. The main serotypes identified were O178:H19, O8:H19, O130:H11, and O113:H21, all of which have produced sporadic cases of hemolytic-uremic syndrome in Argentina and worldwide. Twenty-two (7.2%) strains carried a fully virulent stx/eae/ehxA genotype. Among them, strains of serotypes O103:[H2], O145:NM, and O111:NM represented 4.8% of the isolates. Xba I pulsed-field gel electrophoresis pattern analysis showed 234 different patterns, with 76 strains grouped in 30 clusters. Nine of the clusters grouped strains isolated from feces and from carcasses of the same or different bovines in a lot, while three clusters were comprised of strains distributed in more than one abattoir. Patterns AREXSX01.0157, AREXBX01.0015, and AREXPX01.0013 were identified as 100% compatible with the patterns of one strain isolated from a hemolytic-uremic syndrome case and two strains previously isolated from beef medallions, included in the Argentine PulseNet Database. In this survey, 4.8% (39 of 811) of the bovine carcasses appeared to be contaminated with nonO157 STEC strains potentially capable of producing sporadic human disease, and a lower proportion (0.25%) with strains able to produce outbreaks of severe disease.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Instituto Tecnología de Alimentos, Centro de Investigación de Agroindustria, Instituto Nacional de Tecnología Agropecuaria-INTA, CC. 77, B1708WAB Morón, Provincia de Buenos Aires, Argentina 2: Servicio Fisiopatogenia, Instituto Nacional de Enfermedades Infecciosas-ANLIS "Dr. Carlos G. Malbrán," Av. Vélez Sarsfield 563 (1281) Buenos Aires, Argentina 3: Servicio Fisiopatogenia, Instituto Nacional de Enfermedades Infecciosas-ANLIS "Dr. Carlos G. Malbrán," Av. Vélez Sarsfield 563 (1281) Buenos Aires, Argentina; Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas-CONICET, Av. Rivadavia 1917 C1033AAJ, Buenos Aires, Argentina 4: Seçaão de Bacteriologia, Instituto Adolfo Lutz, Av. Doutor Arnaldo 355, Saão Paulo 01246-902, Brazil

Publication date: December 1, 2011

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