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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Escherichia Coli O157:h7 and Salmonella in White-Tailed Deer and Livestock

Authors
item Branham, L - ANGELO STATE UNIVERSITY
item Carr, M - ANGELO STATE UNIVERSITY
item Scott, C - ANGELO STATE UNIVERSITY
item Callaway, Todd

Submitted to: Current Issues in Intestinal Microbiology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: February 12, 2005
Publication Date: June 2, 2005
Citation: Branham, L.A., Carr, M.A., Scott, C.B., Callaway, T.R. 2005. Escherichia coli O157:H7 and Salmonella in white-tailed deer and livestock. Current Issues in Intestinal Microbiology. 6:25-29.

Interpretive Summary: Escherichia coli O157:H7 and Salmonella spp. are bacteria that cause human illnesses and are often found in the intestinal tract of ruminant animals, including cattle, sheep, goats, and deer. These food borne pathogenic bacteria cost the U.S. economy more than $3.5 billion dollars each year. The object of this study was to assess the incidence of E. coli O157 and Salmonella spp. in white-tailed deer and livestock (cattle, sheep, and goats) simultaneously grazing the same rangeland. Escherichia coli O157 was found in cattle, sheep, and water trough samples all taken in September; however, no E. coli O157 was found in other sampled months, or in deer or goats. Salmonella spp. were found in the highest quantities in deer and sheep, and were also found in sampled water troughs, goats and cattle. Testing during the E. coli O157 peak spring and summer months could produce vastly different results; however, most whitetail deer are harvested during the fall months when our study occurred. The incidence of the bacteria in sheep, cattle, and their shared water source indicated the organism could potentially be transferred from one animal to another via water supplies. The presence of Salmonella spp. in all four animal species and their shared water source indicates that all ruminant animals can be carriers of the organisms. Results showing a relationship between deer and livestock inhabiting the same rangeland and both testing positive for E. coli O157 could have a major impact on on-farm management of the organism. Control of these organisms in livestock could prove to be difficult if reinoculation or recirculation occurs between wildlife vectors and livestock.

Technical Abstract: Escherichia coli O157 and Salmonella spp. are among the leading causes of food-borne illness in the United States and these bacteria have been isolated from numerous ruminant animal sources. The objective of this study was to assess the incidence of E. coli O157 and Salmonella spp. in white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) and livestock (cattle, sheep, and goats) simultaneously grazing the same rangeland. Escherichia coli O157 was found in 1.25% of cattle, 1.22% of sheep, and 5.00% of water troughs, all from samples collected in September; however, no E. coli O157 was found in other sampled months, or in deer or goats. Salmonella spp. were found in the highest quantities in deer and sheep, 7.69% and 7.32%, respectively. Salmonella spp. were also found in sampled water troughs, goats, and cattle (5.00%, 3.70%, and 1.25%, respectively). Further research examining pathogen distribution is needed to determine if white tailed deer are a natural reservoir for these bacteria.

Last Modified: 11/26/2014
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