Author(s): Williams KJ, Ward MP, Dhungyel OP, Williams KJ, Ward MP, Dhungyel OP
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Abstract A longitudinal study was conducted to assess the methods available for detection of Escherichia coli O157 and to investigate the prevalence and occurrence of long-term shedding and super shedding in a cohort of Australian dairy heifers. Samples were obtained at approximately weekly intervals from heifers at pasture under normal management systems. Selective sampling techniques were used with the aim of identifying heifers with a higher probability of shedding or super shedding. Rectoanal mucosal swabs (RAMS) and fecal samples were obtained from each heifer. Direct culture of feces was used for detection and enumeration. Feces and RAMS were tested by enrichment culture. Selected samples were further tested retrospectively by immunomagnetic separation of enriched samples. Of 784 samples obtained, 154 (19.6\%) were detected as positive using culture methods. Adjusting for selective sampling, the prevalence was 71 (15.6\%) of 454. In total, 66 samples were detected as positive at >10(2) CFU/g of which 8 were >10(4) CFU/g and classed as super shedding. A significant difference was observed in detection by enriched culture of RAMS and feces. Dairy heifers within this cohort exhibited variable E. coli O157 shedding, consistent with previous estimates of shedding. Super shedding was detected at a low frequency and inconsistently from individual heifers. All detection methods identified some samples as positive that were not detected by any other method, indicating that the testing methods used will influence survey results.
This article was published in J Food Prot
and referenced in Journal of Food: Microbiology, Safety & Hygiene