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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


item Feder, Ingrid
item Gray, Jeffrey
item Pearce, Rachel
item Fratamico, Pina
item Bush, Eric
item Porto, Anna
item Wallace, Frederick
item Cray, Paula
item Luchansky, John

Submitted to: Journal of Food Protection
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/15/2007
Publication Date: 6/1/2007
Citation: Feder, I.E., Gray, J.T., Pearce, R., Fratamico, P.M., Bush, E., Porto, A., Wallace, F.M., Cray, P.J., Luchansky, J.B. 2007. Testing of swine feces obtained through the national animal health monitoring system's swine 2000 study for the presence of escherichia coli 0157:h7. Journal of Food Protection. Vol. 70(6):1489-1492.

Interpretive Summary: The bacterium known as Escherichia coli and belonging to a type called O157:H7 causes a disease called hemorrhagic colitis and is the leading cause of hemolytic uremic syndrome, a potentially fatal kidney disease. E. coli O157:H7 is typically shed in the feces of healthy cattle. Food of bovine origin or foods contaminated with bovine feces or manure are commonly associated with human infection. However, the need to determine if other animals may be reservoirs for E. coli O157:H7 has been recognized. The National Animal Health Monitoring System (NAHMS) Swine 2000 study facilitated by the USDA, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services was carried out with the cooperation of swine farmers and in collaboration with the USDA, Agricultural Research Service to investigate the occurrence of E. coli O157:H7 in swine feces. Fecal samples collected from healthy pigs from 13 of the top 17 swine producing states were tested the presence of this bacterium. E. coli O157:H7 was not found in any of the 2526 fecal samples examined. However, 8 E. coli O157:nonH7 bacteria, found in eight different fecal samples, possessed only one of 4 different genes that are typically found in E. coli O157:H7 and that are involved in causing disease. Further studies are needed to determine if these bacteria can potentially cause disease.

Technical Abstract: A national study on the natural occurrence of Escherichia coli O157 in swine feces by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), was carried out by Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services (APHIS) and Agricultural Research Service (ARS). With the cooperation of pork producers from 13 of the top 17 swine producing states, a total of 2526 fecal samples collected between August 2000 and April 2001 from healthy pigs representing 57 swine herds in the United States were tested. PCR analysis of the samples showed that 102 were positive for the E. coli O157 gene (102/2526; 4.0%). With this same procedure, the gene for H7 flagellum (fliCH7) and virulence genes (eaeA, hly933, stX1 and stX2) were not detected in these E. coli O157 positive isolates. The results confirm the presence of the E. coli O157 genotype in the feces of healthy swine.

Last Modified: 10/15/2017
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