Serotypes, virulence genes and intimin types of verotoxin-producing Escherichia coli and enteropathogenic E. coli isolated from healthy dairy goats in Spain.Vet Microbiol. 2005 Sep 30; 110(1-2):67-76.VM
Faecal samples from 222 healthy dairy goats on 12 farms in Spain, as well as bulk tank milk samples of these farms, were screened for the presence of verotoxin-producing Escherichia coli (VTEC) and enteropathogenic E. coli (EPEC). VTEC and EPEC were isolated in 47.7 and 7.7% of the animals, respectively. VTEC were isolated more frequently from adults and replacement animals than from goat kids. In contrast, EPEC were detected more frequently from goat kids than from replacement animals and adults. VTEC or EPEC strains were not detected in the bulk tank milk samples. Although a selective enrichment protocol was used, the serotype O157:H7 was not detected. The most frequent serotypes among the 106 VTEC strains isolated from goats were O5:H-, O76:H19, O126:H8, O146:H21, ONT:H- and ONT:H21. None VTEC strain was eae-positive. The absence of the eae gene in the VTEC strains could indicate that these strains are less virulent for humans that the classical eae-positive enterohaemorrhagic E. coli types. However, 16% of VTEC strains isolated from healthy goats belonged to serotypes associated with haemolytic uraemic syndrome in humans. The ehxA gene was detected in 84.9 and 52.9% of the VTEC and EPEC from goats, respectively. The beta1, theta/gamma2 and zeta were the most frequent intimin types among the 17 EPEC strains studied and the most prevalent serotypes of these strains were O156:H25 and O177:H11. Our data show that in Spain healthy goats are an important reservoir of VTEC and EPEC, and a potential source of infection for humans.