High numbers of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli found in bovine faeces collected at slaughter in Japan.FEMS Microbiol Lett. 2004 Sep 01; 238(1):189-97.FM
The prevalence and concentration of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) in cattle faeces (n=605) at the time of slaughter was studied in Shimane Prefecture, Japan on a monthly basis between April 2000 and March 2001. Screening with stx-PCR determined a prevalence of 37.5%. After analysis of spread faeces and enriched samples on cefixime, tellurite and sorbitol-MacConkey agar using HCl treatment, 114 STEC strains were singly or concomitantly isolated from 97 cattle (15.9%). Of the 605 cattle, 31 (5.1%) harbored O26:H11, O111:H-, O121:H19 or O157:H7, which had the stx1 and/or stx2 and eae and hlyA genes, and 7 (23%) of these 31 cattle were high level carriers that contained these typical STEC at concentrations of 10(5)-10(8) CFU/g of faeces. The predominant serotype was O26:H11 (20 strains) and the second most frequent was O157:H7 (9 strains). Of the 605 cattle, 68 (11.2%) harboured 36 other serotypes and 6 (5.9%) of the 67 cattle were high level carriers. As a comparison between the prevalence of STEC and the faecal pH, it was demonstrated that STEC can be isolated from cattle with a wide range of faecal pH values. The presence of a high-carriage animal at the abattoir increases the potential risk of meat contamination during the slaughtering process, regardless of faecal pH.