1st Page



This article in

  1. Vol. 85 No. 13_suppl, p. E73-E80
    Received: Sept 07, 2006
    Accepted: Nov 28, 2006
    Published: December 8, 2014

    2 Corresponding author(s):


Preharvest control of Escherichia coli O157 in cattle1

  1. J. T. LeJeune2 and
  2. A. N. Wetzel
  1. Food Animal Health Research Program, Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, The Ohio State University, Wooster 44691


Bovine manure is an important source of Escherichia coli O157 contamination of the environment and foods; therefore, effective interventions targeted at reducing the prevalence and magnitude of fecal E. coli O157 excretion by live cattle (preharvest) are desirable. Preharvest intervention methods can be grouped into 3 categories: 1) exposure reduction strategies, 2) exclusion strategies, and 3) direct antipathogen strategies. Exposure reduction involves environmental management targeted at reducing bovine exposure to E. coli O157 through biosecurity and environmental niche management such as feed and drinking water hygiene, reduced exposure to insects or wildlife, and improved cleanliness of the bedding or pen floor. In the category of exclusion, we group vaccination and dietary modifications such as selection of specific feed components; feeding of prebiotics, probiotics, or both; and supplementation with competitive exclusion cultures to limit proliferation of E. coli O157 in or on exposed animals. Direct antipathogen strategies include treatment with sodium chlorate, antibiotics, bacteriophages, in addition to washing of animals before slaughter. Presently, only 1 preharvest control for E. coli O157 in cattle has been effective and has gained widespread adoption—the feeding probiotic Lactobacillus acidophilus. More research into the effectiveness of parallel and simultaneous application of 1 or more preharvest control strategies, as well as the identification of new pre-harvest control methods, may provide practical means to substantially reduce the incidence of human E. coli O157-related illness by intervening at the farm level.

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