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Vet World. 2010; 3(8): 382-389

Escherichia coli O157:H7 - An Emerging Pathogen in foods of Animal Origin

Ch. Bindu Kiranmayi, N. Krishnaiah and E. Naga Mallika.

Cited by (4)

Escherichia coli O157:H7 is an emerging public health concern in most countries of the world. E. coli O157:H7 was known to be a human pathogen for nearly 24 years. EHEC O157 infection is estimated to be the fourth most costly food borne disease in Canada and USA, not counting the cost of possible litigation. E. coli O157:H7 and Salmonella are the leading causes of produce related outbreaks, accounting for 20 and 30% respectively. The authority of the Federal Meat Inspection Act, FSIS (Food Safety and Inspection Service) declared Escherichia coli O157:H7, an adulterant in raw ground beef and enforced “zero tolerance” (USDA-FSIS, 17 December 1998). Because of the
severity of these illnesses and the apparent low infective dose (less than 10 cells), Escherichia coli O157:H7 is considered one of the most serious of known food borne pathogens. Escherichia coli O157:H7 is mainly pathogenic to human but in cattle and other animals, it did not induce any clinical disease except diarrhea. So, these animals act as carriers to Escherichia coli O157:H7. The majority transmission is through eating of undercooked contaminated ground meat and consumption of raw milk, raw vegetables, fruits contaminated by water, cheese, curd and also through consumption of sprouts, lettuce and juice. The conventional isolation procedure includes growth in enrichment broth like modified EC (E. coli) broth or modified tryptic soy broth (mTSB) Since the infection primarily occurs via faeco-oral route, the preventive measures include food hygiene measures like proper cooking of meat, consumption of pasteurized milk, washing fruits and vegetables especially those to be eaten raw and drinking chlorine treated water and personnel hygiene measures like washing hands after toilet visits.

Key words: Food borne pathogen, Enteritis, Meat, Animal products, Zoonosis, Outbreak, Public Health.

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