Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

E. coli 0157:H7 present but not common in wildlife of nation’s salad bowl

26.05.2010
The disease-causing bacterium E. coli O157:H7 is present but rare in some wildlife species of California’s agriculturally rich Central Coast region, an area often referred to as the nation’s “salad bowl,” reports a team or researchers led by a UC Davis scientist.

The researchers, who are nearing completion of a massive field study to help identify potential sources of E. coli O157:H7 near Central Coast farms, presented their findings today during the annual meeting of the American Society for Microbiology in San Diego. They reported finding occasional E. coli O157:H7 infections in fecal samples of wildlife species common to the area, including cowbirds, coyotes, crows, mice and feral pigs.

Based on their findings, the researchers recommend that farmers in this region continue to follow "good agricultural practices," a set of accepted, on-farm procedures designed to protect crops from contamination during production and harvest (http://ucgaps.ucdavis.edu/).

The study was spurred by a 2006 nationwide E. coli O157:H7 outbreak linked to fresh, bagged spinach grown in California; the outbreak resulted in 205 reported illnesses and three deaths.

“The study helps us better understand the possible risk of crop contamination from wildlife and allows us to compare that to the risk of contamination from other possible sources such as livestock and irrigation water,” said lead study author Michele Jay-Russell, a veterinarian at UC Davis’ Western Institute for Food Safety and Security.

“We are sharing this data with the produce industry, regulators, and conservation groups to help improve prevention strategies that protect public health and preserve native wildlife populations and their habitats,” she said.

E. coli O157:H7 poses a serious human health threat, commonly causing abdominal cramps and diarrhea, sometimes bloody. Severe infections may be require hospitalization and result in kidney damage and even death. People most at risk for serious complications include young children, the elderly and those with compromised immune systems.

From 2008 through 2009, the team collected and tested 1,133 fecal samples from wild birds and mammals on 38 private properties in Monterey, San Benito and San Luis Obispo counties in California. All three counties are home to farms that grow fresh spinach, lettuce and other produce.

Laboratory tests revealed that E. coli O157:H7 was present in samples from two cowbirds, two coyotes, five crows, one deer mouse and 10 feral pigs. Samples from deer, opossums, raccoons, skunks, ground squirrels and other bird and mouse species all tested negative for the bacterium.

Robert Mandrell, principle investigator and research leader from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service, said that the discovery of a low level of E. coli O157: H7 among Central Coast wildlife was somewhat surprising.

“The fact that we have identified two bird species with an incidence of E. coli O157:H7 of more than 3 percent, feral swine with about a 4 percent incidence and several coyotes and rodents that tested positive for O157:H7 suggests there are at least several sources of pathogen movement in this region,” Mandrell said.

“We have no evidence that the concentration of the pathogen was high in the feces of the animals that tested positive, so the significance of wildlife as a source of direct contamination associated with outbreaks remains unclear,” he said.

Mandrell said the researchers are comparing the genetic makeup of the E. coli O157: H7 strains found in wildlife to that of strains isolated from other sources including cattle, soil and water. They hope these comparisons will help them to better assess the movement of the bacteria in this agriculturally important region.

Following up on these findings, the study team is evaluating other potential wildlife sources of E. coli O157:H7, including amphibians and reptiles, and is conducting focused research to refine best practices that promote appropriate management to protect both food safety and the environment.

The collaborative research team included microbiologists and epidemiologists from the Agricultural Research Service and the Western Regional Research Center and Wildlife Services, both of the U.S. Department of Agriculture; the Western Institute for Food Safety and Security and the Western Center for Food Safety, both at UC Davis; and the University of California Cooperative Extension.

The study was funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Pat Bailey | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ucdavis.edu

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Real-time feedback helps save energy and water
08.02.2017 | Otto-Friedrich-Universität Bamberg

nachricht The Great Unknown: Risk-Taking Behavior in Adolescents
19.01.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Biocompatible 3-D tracking system has potential to improve robot-assisted surgery

17.02.2017 | Medical Engineering

Real-time MRI analysis powered by supercomputers

17.02.2017 | Medical Engineering

Antibiotic effective against drug-resistant bacteria in pediatric skin infections

17.02.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>