Between May 2005 and June 2008, strategically selected isolates of Escherichia coli obtained from clinical submissions to Veterinary Laboratories Agency (VLA) regional laboratories in England and Wales were serogrouped and examined by PCR for verocytotoxin (VT) production and attaching and effacing (eae) genes, both of which are zoonotic determinants. VT-encoding genes were detected in 54 (5.3 per cent) of the 1022 isolates examined. Only one isolate (0.1 per cent) was identified as verocytotoxigenic E coli (VTEC) O157. Non-O157 VTECs were present in 4.7 per cent of isolates from cattle, compared with 7.9 per cent in pigs, 2.3 per cent in sheep and 6.7 per cent in goats. The predominant serogroup identified in cattle was O26 and the predominant serogroup in pigs was O2. Attaching and effacing activity was attributed to 69 (6.8 per cent) of all isolates.
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