Prevalence and Epidemiology of Non-O157 Escherichia coli Serogroups O26, O103, O111, and O145 and Shiga Toxin Gene Carriage in Scottish Cattle, 2014-2015

Deborah V. Hoyle*, Marianne Keith, Helen Williamson, Karen Macleod, Heather Mathie, Ian Handel, Carol Currie, Anne Holmes, Lesley J. Allison, Rebecca McLean, Rebecca Callaby, Thibaud Porphyre, SC Tongue, MK Henry, Judith Evans, GJ Gunn, David L. Gally, Nuno Silva, Margo E. Chase-Topping*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)
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Cattle are a reservoir for Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC), zoonotic pathogens that cause serious clinical disease. Scotland has a higher incidence of STEC infection in the human population than the European average. The aim of this study was to investigate the prevalence and epidemiology of non-O157 serogroups O26, O103, O111, and O145 and Shiga toxin gene carriage in Scottish cattle. Fecal samples (n = 2783) were collected from 110 herds in 2014 and 2015 and screened by realtime PCR. Herd-level prevalence (95% confidence interval [CI]) for O103, O26, and O145 was estimated as 0.71 (0.62, 0.79), 0.43 (0.34, 0.52), and 0.23 (0.16, 0.32), respectively. Only two herds were positive for O111. Shiga toxin prevalence was high in both herds and pats, particularly for stx2 (herd level: 0.99; 95% CI: 0.94, 1.0). O26 bacterial strains were isolated from 36 herds on culture. Fifteen herds yielded O26 stx-positive isolates that additionally harbored the intimin gene; six of these herds shed highly pathogenic stx2-positive strains. Multiple serogroups were detected in herds and pats, with only 25 herds negative for all serogroups. Despite overlap in detection, regional and seasonal effects were observed. Higher herd prevalence for O26, O103, and stx1 occurred in the South West, and this region was significant for stx2 at the pat level (P=0.015). Significant seasonal variation was observed for O145 prevalence, with the highest prevalence in autumn (P=0.032). Negative herds were associated with Central Scotland and winter. Herds positive for all serogroups were associated with autumn and larger herd size and were not housed at sampling.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere03142-20
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages18
JournalApplied and Environmental Microbiology
Issue number10
Early online date27 Apr 2021
Publication statusPrint publication - May 2021


  • cattle
  • epidemiology
  • non-O157
  • Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli


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