Duration of detection of fecal excretion of Escherichia coli O157:H7 in cattle.
To better define the bovine reservoir of Escherichia coli O157:H7, cattle were tested monthly by bacteriologic culture for fecal excretion of E. coli. E. coli O157:H7 was isolated from feces of 56 cattle sampled an average of 6.98 times (2-12 samples). By broth enrichment culture, immunomagnetic separation, or both, 35 cattle had 1 positive sample, 12 had 2, 7 had 3, and 1 each had 4 and 5. Five cattle with > or = 2 positive samples were in a herd in which 5 pulsed-field gel electrophoretic (PFGE) types were simultaneously present; in 3 of these cattle, different PFGE types were detected in different samples. The duration of detected excretion E. coli O157:H7 by individual cattle in this study was <1 month in 35 (63%) of 56 cattle. Both serial and concurrent excretion of different E. coli O157:H7 strains by individual cattle was observed.