E. coli vaccine effective but seldom used in feedlot cattle

When it comes to foodborne illnesses, few rival E. coli for the damaging effect it can have on humans.

beef.cattleResearch shows that STEC-related bacteria cause more than 175,000 human illnesses per year with an annual direct economic cost ranging from $489 million to $993 million, said Kansas State University agricultural economist, Glynn Tonsor.

Shiga toxin-producing E. coli, often referred to as STEC O157 or simply E. coli, is naturally occurring in cattle and though it does no harm to the cattle, can make humans sick. In some cases it is lethal. To reduce the chances that beef leaving their plants is contaminated with the pathogen, beef processors have implemented hazard control steps and also test their beef products for the presence of E. coli before they leave the plant.

Another potential way to reduce prevalence of E. coli is to vaccinate cattle in feedlots long before they are shipped to processing plants.

“Immunization through vaccination has been a commercially available pre-harvest intervention to reduce E. coli shedding in cattle for about five years,” said Tonsor, who is a livestock marketing specialist with K-State Research and Extension. “Despite demonstrated substantial improvement in human health the vaccine offers, it has not been widely adopted.”

In a recent study he, along with K-State colleague Ted Schroeder, also an agricultural economist, took a closer look at the potential economic impacts of incorporating animal vaccination into E. coli pre-harvest control practices.

A fact sheet is available at Market Impacts of E.coli Vaccination in U.S. Feedlots. Study results have been published in the Agricultural and Food Economics Journal.

The study made clear two primary reasons most feedlot managers don’t use E. coli vaccines. Because cattle themselves are not adversely affected by the pathogen, the presence of E. coli does not hinder cattle feeding efficiency so there are no production costs for feedlots directly associated with the prevalence of E. coli. In other words, it costs no more to feed cattle that have E. coli than it does to feed cattle that don’t.  

Further, there is no well-established market that compensates producers for vaccinating for the pathogen. So generally, the price paid for cattle coming out of feedlots is the same whether the vaccine was used or not. Because administering the vaccine adds costs without direct economic incentives, most cattle feeders choose not to, Tonsor said.

Key findings from the K-State study include:

  • Given the current market setting, producer adoption of E. coli vaccination protocols is likely to remain limited. If such vaccinations were implemented, it would cost U.S. feedlots $1.0 billion to $1.8 billion in economic welfare loss over 10 years if demand didn’t increase with premiums for vaccinated cattle.    
  • Retail or export beef demand increases could spur adoption by feedlot producers. Considering different scenarios, the study found that retail beef demand increases of 1.7 percent to 3.0 percent or export beef demand increases of 18.1 percent to 32.6 percent would be necessary to generate sufficiently higher fed cattle prices to offset the costs associated with vaccination.
  • Production cost decreases to either beef retailers or wholesalers (packers) could also provide an incentive for feedlot producers to vaccinate. The study indicated that cost declines of 2.2 percent to 3.9 percent for retailers or alternatively production cost declines of 1.2 percent to 2.2 percent for packers would be necessary to generate sufficiently higher fed cattle prices to cover feedlot adoption costs, making producers economically neutral to adoption.

“A key point of this research is that limited use of E. coli vaccinations in U.S. feedlots is consistent with the lack of current economic signals for producers to expand adoption,” Schroeder said. “Unless there is a substantial change in market signals presented to feedlot operators, limited use of E. coli vaccinations can be expected in the future.”

Sweden screens for STECs in kids

Background: Shiga toxin (Stx)-producing Escherichia coli (STECs) are the most common cause of acute renal failure in children. The present study evaluated a 10-year STEC polymerase chain reaction screening regimen in children.

dirty.jobs.daycare.e.coliMethods: All routine stool culture specimens from patients below 10 years of age (n = 10 342) from May 2003 through April 2013 in the County of Jönköping, Sweden, were included. Patients were divided in 1 group where analyses of STEC were requested by the clinician (n = 2366) and 1 screening group (n = 7976). Patients who were positive for STEC were tested weekly until they were negative. Clinical data were collected through a questionnaire and by reviewing medical records.

Results: In specimens from 191 patients, stx was found (162 index cases). The prevalence was 1.8% in the requested group and 1.5% in the screening group (P = .5). Diarrhea was the most frequent symptom reported in 156 cases and of these 29 (19%) had hemorrhagic colitis (HC) and 7 children developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). No difference regarding severity of symptoms between the groups was found. Stx2 predominated in cases with HC (P < .0001) and HUS (P = .04). Median stx shedding duration was 20 days (1–256 days), and no difference in duration was seen between stx types (P = .106–1.00) and presence of eaeA (P = .72).

Conclusions: Most STEC cases were found in the screening group with comparable prevalence and disease severity as in patients where analysis was requested. Furthermore, non-O157 serotypes caused severe disease when carrying stx2, and prolonged shedding of STEC may be a risk for transmission.

 Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli in diarrheal stool of Swedish children: Evaluation of polymerase chain reaction screening and duration of shiga toxin shedding

Journal of the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society

Andreas Matussek, Ing-Marie Einemo, Anna Jogenfors, Sven Löfdahl3 and Sture Löfgren


6-year-old Washington boy battles E. coli infection

A young Selah, Wash. boy is still in the hospital with a severe E. coli infection. The six-year old has been in Seattle for almost two weeks. 

Yakima County has seen an unusual increase in E-coli cases so far this year. The total already matches the last two years combined. Action News spoke to the parents.

“How in the world did my son get E. coli? I’m terrified for my child.”

Doctors told the family Brody has a rare strain of the bacteria that could kill him. Both of his kidneys have failed. The family said he might need a transplant in the future.

Katie Clyde told Action News, “you’re thinking you’re going to be here a week and then the next day you’re thinking okay I’m going to be here two weeks. And then after that, you realize you’re going to be here a month longer. That’s been really hard.”

The Clydes tell KIMA they think Brody came in contact with the E. coli from drinking water from the Naches River while the family was camping or from spinach.

One of Brody’s close friends has also been infected. He ate the same spinach with the Clyde family, but wasn’t near the river. The friend’s case isn’t as severe.

”Two little boys to worry about, not just one,” said Katie Clyde.

Action News talked to the Yakima Health District. Health officials downplay any wider public threat.
They said E. coli can also be transmitted through the air, and it’s possible that’s how the friend got sick.

For now, Josh and Katie wait by their son’s bedside.

”I can’t wait until we get to go home one day,” Katie Clyde told KIMA. 

Health officials said the incidents are too limited to issue a warning. They will take action and start testing spinach if more cases can be connected to the specific product.

Fundraisers are being held to help the Clyde family with expenses.

Two kids fighting E. coli infection after separately visiting Oklahoma lake

A weekend at the lake may be to blame for sending two Green Country children to the hospital.

The health department says it hasn’t found evidence the bacteria was related to lake exposure, however the two families, who were not at the lake together, say the water is the only common denominator.

Four-year-old Kilee King is feeling better. She’s back to being silly with her big brother and their friend–a far cry from how she felt a few weeks ago.

On August 7, two days after the family spent the weekend at Blue Bill Point campground on Fort Gibson lake, she was not feeling well, at all.

“She was crying and holding her stomach and she couldn’t really stand up all the way. she was just kind of folded over,” said Kilee’s mom, Tara Pope. “She’s usually a trooper, but that kind of pain, I knew something serious was going on.”

Kilee had to be rushed to a Tulsa hospital.

“It was the scariest moment of my life,” Pope said.

Kilee stayed overnight and was diagnosed the next day.

“They confirmed it was shiga toxin producing E. coli,” Pope said.

Eldon Yoder, 9, was at the lake with his family that same weekend as Kilee, though the two families weren’t there together.

Eldon’s aunt said he’s fighting the same strain of E. coli, only it’s hit him much harder. His aunt said Eldon developed a potentially life-threatening complication, causing his kidneys to shut down.

Eldon has spent the past two weeks in the hospital on life support and dialysis. Thursday night, relatives said the machines had been turned off and he’s doing better, though they said there’s no guarantee that Eldon won’t need dialysis again.

NewsOn6.com – Tulsa, OK – News, Weather, Video and Sports – KOTV.com |

Safety vs tourism; 16 – mainly young children — now with HUS from E. coli O26 outbreak in Italy

An E. coli O26 outbreak appears to be spreading in the Apulia region of Italy, with 16 cases of hemolytic uremic syndrome, including14 children aged 10-to-36 months, a 15-year-old boy and an adult.

The most recent case occurred in Calimera, where an 11-month-old girl was admitted to hospital with symptoms that many now have learned to apuliarecognize: diarrhea often characterized by the presence of blood in the stool, vomiting and abdominal pain.

Something may be lost in translation here, but the story says:

From the information gathered through the statements of the parents, children affected by Seu had eaten fruit (watermelon, in particular), dairy products and salad. In some cases, little had been spoon-fed after the parent had come into contact with the meat, maybe the one that bought a sandwich stuffed in one of the many stalls that fill the streets of Puglia during the summer. In short, too many elements, but no certainty, except that which is coming from sea water bacteria.

Perhaps, more likely, from the wells from where it draws water to irrigate the fields, but the controls are still in progress. Yet in recent days had spread the rumor that to facilitate the contagion might just be the sea water. A circumstance which had raised fears sudden emptying of the seaside resorts and a stampede of tourists from Puglia. 

This has not happened, as confirmed by Fabrizio Santorsola, regional vice president of Assobalneari Puglia, federated Federbalneari, and holder of the beach and restaurant “Santos» Savelletri, on the coast of Fasano. “Our guests, and those establishments that belong to the association – he says – did not show any fear.

17 sick with E. coli from petting area at Brisbane fair; handwashing or sanitizers never enough

With 17 sick from shiga-toxin producing E. coli linked to the animal area at the Queensland state fair, or Ekka, neighboring Gold Coast says they’re boosting hygiene for their fair that starts Friday.

royal.petting.zooBut it probably isn’t enough.

Queensland Health today confirmed that eight people have tested positive to STEC and another nine have reported symptoms.

Gold Coast Show marketing manager Leisa Martin says the usual precautions have been increased.

“This year in keeping with the guidelines from Queensland Health we have actually put in more of those stations than Queensland Health has advised in an effort to ensure the same unfortunate occurrence does not happen at our show,” she said.

“So of course after you have been near the animals use one of the hand sanitiser stations that are nearby.”

The U.K. and many scientists say hand sanitizers are sorta useless in the presence of an organic matter; handwashing with soap and vigorously running water, followed by drying with paper towel is recommended procedure.

But in several previous petting zoo outbreaks, handwashing was not a factor: bacterial can be present on many surfaces or even aerosolized.

Maybe those guidelines should be updated.

A table of petting zoo outbreaks is available at http://bites.ksu.edu/petting-zoos-outbreaks.

17 (or 12) sick with E. coli from petting area at Brisbane fair; handwashing is never enough

A further 13 cases of shiga-toxin producing E. coli linked to the animal nursery at the Ekka – like the state fair — are being investigated, in addition to the four confirmed cases.

Although maybe it’s only eight additional cases being investigated because Queensland Health isn’t so good about this information thing; an additional five were announced petting zooyesterday, so who knows.

The latest update on the web came from Facebook – it says, two hours ago.

Two hours from when? Two days ago?

Those concerns are minor compared to the plight of the sick people; here’s hoping teachers, retailers, fair promoters and others will start to take animal-human interactions more seriously.

A table of petting zoo outbreaks is available at http://bites.ksu.edu/petting-zoos-outbreaks.

17 now sick with E. coli from Chicago-area restaurant

The number of cases reported in an E. coli outbreak has increased to 9 confirmed cases and 8 probable, DuPage County health officials said Tuesday.

Six of the nine confirmed cases left people hospitalized, but all have been released, said Jason Gerwig, a spokesperson for the DuPage County stan.mikita.donutsHealth Department.

The Chicago Tribune reports as part of the investigation, a restaurant in Lombard, Los Burritos Mexicanos, 1015 E. St. Charles Rd., remained closed Tuesday.

Marco Arteaga, manager of the restaurant, said the restaurant is cooperating fully in the investigation. He said the cause of the outbreak is puzzling because none of his employees have been sick, and no problems have been reported at the restaurant’s other locations in Villa Park and St. Charles.

He said all the locations use the same food distributors.

Shiga-toxin E. coli found in raw milk; Washington dairy recalls product

Frisia Dairy and Creamery of Tenino, Wash., located about 15 miles southeast of Olympia, has recalled its retail raw milk products because they may be contiminated with E. coli.

There have been no reported illnesses.

The unpasteurized milk products, which include whole, skim and cream milk and sold in pint, half-gallon and gallon containers, are distributed through eight retail outlets in Lewis, Thurston and Pierce counties. The milk is also sold on location at the dairy, 4800 Skookumchuck Rd. SE. in Tenino.

The recall was initiated by the dairy after Washington State Department of Agriculture’s (WSDA) routine, monthly sampling discovered toxin-producing E. coli in a skim milk sample. E. coli was not found in other samples and has not been previously found at the dairy. The dairy and WSDA are investigating the cause of the contamination.

A table of raw milk related outbreaks – that’s outbreaks, not the dozens upon dozens of recalls — is available at http://bites.ksu.edu/rawmilk.