The virulence properties of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) strains isolated from diarrhoeic and non-diarrhoeic calves were compared. The strains were also tested for O157:H7, O111 and O26 serotypes, using PCR and conventional serotyping methods. E coli strains isolated from 297 faecal samples, from 200 diarrhoeic and 97 non-diarrhoeic calves, were screened by multiplex PCR assay for the stx1, stx2, eae and Ehly virulence genes. STECs were recovered from 8 per cent of diarrhoeic calves and 10.3 per cent of non-diarrhoeic calves. The predominant virulence gene profile was stx1/eae/Ehly (47.3 per cent) among isolates from diarrhoeic calves and eae/Ehly (36.8 per cent) among isolates from non-diarrhoeic calves. Among three tested serogroups, the predominant serogroup was O26 (18.4 per cent), and O157:H7 was not detected. Intimin subtyping by restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis revealed only three intimin subtypes (β, γ and θ). A significant difference was observed in the distribution of Int-θ between two groups. Int-θ was present in 50 per cent of the isolates from diarrhoeic calves and in 11.1 per cent of the isolates from non-diarrhoeic calves; this difference was statistically significant (P=0.01).
- British Veterinary Association
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