Author(s): Brown CA, Harmon BG, Zhao T, Doyle MP, Brown CA, Harmon BG, Zhao T, Doyle MP
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Abstract Nine weaned calves (6 to 8 weeks of age) were given 10(10) CFU of a five-strain mixture of enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli O157:H7 by oral-gastric intubation. After an initial brief period of pyrexia in three calves and transient mild diarrhea in five calves, calves were clinically normal throughout the 13- to 27-day study. The population of E. coli O157:H7 in the faces decreased dramatically in all calves during the first 2 weeks after inoculation. Thereafter, small populations of E. coli O157:H7 persisted in all calves, where they were detected intermittently in the feces and rumen contents. While withholding food increased fecal shedding of E. coli O157:H7 by 1 to 2 log10/g in three of four calves previously shedding small populations of E. coli O157:H7, the effect of fasting on fecal shedding of E. coli O157:H7 was variable in calves shedding larger populations. At necropsy, E. coli O157:H7 was not isolated from sites outside the alimentary tract. E. coli O157:H7 was isolated from the forestomach or colon of all calves at necropsy. Greater numbers of E. coli O157:H7 were present in the gastrointestinal contents than in the corresponding mucosal sections, and there was no histologic or immunohistochemical evidence of E. coli O157:H7 adhering to the mucosa. In conclusion, under these experimental conditions, E. coli O157:H7 is not pathogenic in weaned calves, and while it does not appear to colonize mucosal surfaces for extended periods, E. coli O157:H7 persists in the contents of the rumen and colon as a source for fecal shedding.
This article was published in Appl Environ Microbiol
and referenced in Journal of Food: Microbiology, Safety & Hygiene