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Cattle Vaccine Could Reduce E.Coli Cases

September 25, 2013
Food

Researchers from Scotland claim up to 85% of human cases of E.Coli O157 cases could be prevented by an effective programme of cattle vaccination. Whilst vacinnes currently exist, scientists are concerned that their adoption is being delayed by conflicting responsibilities of veterinary and public health agencies along with economic drivers. The most recent study on the subject concentrated on the transmission risk across the cattle-human species boundary and found that some cattle are ?supershedders?, excreting far greater quantities of the bacteria than others. Identification of these cattle by the genetic marker, stx2, can target vaccinations towards the animals that pose the greatest risk.

Professor David Gally from the Roslin Institute who was part of the research team explained more; “Our study also shows that E. coli producing the toxin type that causes the most serious and potentially lethal symptoms in humans is also associated with super-shedding from cattle. The more we discover about how the bacteria colonise cattle, the more we are able to target these processes to improve vaccines”. There are over 1,000 cases of foodborne illness relating to E.Coli each year with 10% of those being the E.Coli O157 strain. There are two E.Coli0 O157 vaccines on the market in North America – Econiche which blocks the protein that allows the bacteria to colonise in the gut has been fully licensed in Canada while EpitopixSRP which prevents the pathogen?s iron uptake has limited licensing in the United States.

Predicting the public health benefit of vaccinating cattle against Escherichia coli O157 can be downloaded from: http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2013/09/10/1304978110.abstract

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