Persistent Colonization of Sheep by Escherichia coli O157:H7 and Other E. coli Pathotypes
Casey, T. A.
Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) is an important cause of food-borne illness in humans. Ruminants appear to be more frequently colonized by STEC than are other animals, but the reason(s) for this is unknown. We compared the frequency, magnitude, duration, and transmissibility of colonization of sheep by E. coli O157:H7 to that by other pathotypes of E. coli. Young adult sheep were simultaneously inoculated with a cocktail consisting of two strains of E. coliO157:H7, two strains of enterotoxigenic E. coli (ETEC), and one strain of enteropathogenic E. coli. Both STEC strains and ETEC 2041 were given at either 107 or 1010CFU/strain/animal. The other strains were given only at 1010CFU/strain. We found no consistent differences among pathotypes in the frequency, magnitude, and transmissibility of colonization. However, the STEC strains tended to persist to 2 weeks and 2 months postinoculation more frequently than did the other pathotypes. The tendency for persistence of the STEC strains was apparent following an inoculation dose of either 107 or 1010 CFU. One of the ETEC strains also persisted when inoculated at 1010 CFU. However, in contrast to the STEC strains, it did not persist when inoculated at 107 CFU. These results support the hypothesis that STEC is better adapted to persist in the alimentary tracts of sheep than are other pathotypes ofE. coli.
This article is from Applied and Environmental Microbiology 66 (2000): 4926, doi:10.1128/AEM.66.11.4926-4934.2000.