Prevalence of Escherichia coli O157:H7 in white-tailed deer sharing rangeland with cattle

Jan M. Sargeant From the Food Animal Health and Management Center, Veterinary Clinical Sciences Building, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS, 66506 (Sargeant, Hafer, Gillespie, Oberst) and PE Biosystems, PE Corporation, Foster City, CA 94404 (Flood).

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Dale J. Hafer From the Food Animal Health and Management Center, Veterinary Clinical Sciences Building, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS, 66506 (Sargeant, Hafer, Gillespie, Oberst) and PE Biosystems, PE Corporation, Foster City, CA 94404 (Flood).

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Jerry R. Gillespie From the Food Animal Health and Management Center, Veterinary Clinical Sciences Building, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS, 66506 (Sargeant, Hafer, Gillespie, Oberst) and PE Biosystems, PE Corporation, Foster City, CA 94404 (Flood).

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Richard D. Oberst From the Food Animal Health and Management Center, Veterinary Clinical Sciences Building, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS, 66506 (Sargeant, Hafer, Gillespie, Oberst) and PE Biosystems, PE Corporation, Foster City, CA 94404 (Flood).

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Susan J. A. Flood From the Food Animal Health and Management Center, Veterinary Clinical Sciences Building, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS, 66506 (Sargeant, Hafer, Gillespie, Oberst) and PE Biosystems, PE Corporation, Foster City, CA 94404 (Flood).

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Objective

To determine the prevalence of fecal shedding of Escherichia coli O157:H7 in white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) with access to cattle pastures.

Design

Survey study.

Sample Population

212 fecal samples from free ranging white-tailed deer.

Procedure

Fresh feces were collected on multiple pastures from 2 farms in north central Kansas between September 1997 and April 1998. Escherichia coli O157:H7 was identified by bacterial culture and DNA-based methods.

Results

Escherichia coli O157:H7 was identified in 2.4% (5/212) of white-tailed deer fecal samples.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance

There is considerable interest in the beef industry in on-farm control of E coli O157:H7 to reduce the risk of this pathogen entering the human food chain. Results of our study suggest that the design of programs for E coli O157:H7 control in domestic livestock on pasture will need to account for fecal shedding in free-ranging deer. In addition, the results have implications for hunters, people consuming venison, and deer-farming enterprises. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 1999;215:792–794)

Objective

To determine the prevalence of fecal shedding of Escherichia coli O157:H7 in white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) with access to cattle pastures.

Design

Survey study.

Sample Population

212 fecal samples from free ranging white-tailed deer.

Procedure

Fresh feces were collected on multiple pastures from 2 farms in north central Kansas between September 1997 and April 1998. Escherichia coli O157:H7 was identified by bacterial culture and DNA-based methods.

Results

Escherichia coli O157:H7 was identified in 2.4% (5/212) of white-tailed deer fecal samples.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance

There is considerable interest in the beef industry in on-farm control of E coli O157:H7 to reduce the risk of this pathogen entering the human food chain. Results of our study suggest that the design of programs for E coli O157:H7 control in domestic livestock on pasture will need to account for fecal shedding in free-ranging deer. In addition, the results have implications for hunters, people consuming venison, and deer-farming enterprises. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 1999;215:792–794)

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