Quantitative surveillance of shiga toxins 1 and 2, Escherichia coli O178 and O157 in feces of western-Canadian slaughter cattle enumerated by droplet digital PCR with a focus on seasonality and slaughterhouse location
Thomas, James E.
Public Library of Science
Often Escherichia coli are harmless and/or beneficial bacteria inhabiting the gastrointestinal tract of livestock and humans. However, Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) have been linked to human disease. Cattle are the primary reservoir for STEC and STEC “super-shedders” are considered to be a major contributor in animal to animal transmission. Among STEC, O157:H7 is the most recognized serotype, but in recent years, non-O157 STEC have been increasingly linked to human disease. In Argentina and Germany, O178 is considered an emerging pathogen. Our objective was to compare populations of E. coli O178, O157, shiga toxin 1 and 2 in western Canadian cattle feces from a sampling pool of ~80,000 beef cattle collected at two slaughterhouses. Conventional PCR was utilized to screen 1,773 samples for presence/absence of E. coli O178. A subset of samples (n = 168) was enumerated using droplet digital PCR (ddPCR) and proportions of O178, O157 and shiga toxins 1 & 2 specific-fragments were calculated as a proportion of generic E. coli (GEC) specific-fragments. Distribution of stx1 and stx2 was determined by comparing stx1, stx2 and O157 enumerations. Conventional PCR detected the presence of O178 in 873 of 1,773 samples and ddPCR found the average proportion of O178, O157, stx1 and stx2 in the samples 2.8%, 0.6%, 1.4% and 0.5%, respectively. Quantification of stx1 and stx2 revealed more virulence genes than could be exclusively attributed to O157. Our results confirmed the presence of E. coli O178 in western Canadian cattle and ddPCR revealed O178 as a greater proportion of GEC than was O157. Our results suggests: I) O178 may be an emerging subgroup in Canada and II) monitoring virulence genes may be a more relevant target for food-safety STEC surveillance compared to current serogroup screening.
Open access; distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License
E. coli O178 , E. coli O157 , Shiga toxin , Cattle feces , Slaughter cattle , Slaughterhouse , Pathogens , Droplet digital PCR
Paquette, S., Stanford, K., Thomas, J., & Reuter, T. (2018). Quantitative surveillance of shiga toxins 1 and 2, Escherichia coli O178 and O157 in feces of western-Canadian slaughter cattle enumerated by droplet digital PCR with a focus on seasonality and slaughterhouse location. PLoS ONE, 13(4), e0195880. https: doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0195880