A total of 838 outbreaks of fatal Haemophilus somnus infections in herds of cattle were diagnosed at provincial veterinary laboratories in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia during the period 1969-1978. The index cases from these outbreaks included 759 cases of thromboembolic meningoencephalitis, 78 cases of fibrinous pneumonia with pleuritis and one case of H. somnus abortion. The epizootics were subdivided on the basis of province, class and age of cattle and seasonal occurrence. Most outbreaks occurred in a feedlot-type of operation, approximately four weeks after arrival of the cattle. There was often a history of respiratory disease prior to an outbreak and in some cases thromboembolic meningoencephalitis had occurred in the herd the preceding year. The average morbidity-mortality ratio was 2.7/1. The average economic loss per herd was $3 190 based on an average of 15 sick animals and five deaths per affected herd.
The number of large feedlot operations, similar to that of USA and Canada, has notably increased in Mexico in the last three decades. Clinical and laboratory diagnoses of neurological diseases in feedlot cattle are crucial in Mexico and Central America because of the high incidence of bovine paralytic rabies (BPR). Because of its zoonotic potential, BPR must be promptly diagnosed and differentiated from other bovine neurological diseases such as thrombotic meningoencephalitis (TME), polioencephalomalacia (PEM) and botulism. More recently, BPR and botulism have been diagnosed with increasing frequency in Mexican feedlots. Neither BPR nor botulism has relevant gross lesions, thus post-mortem diagnosis without laboratory support is impossible. Herein, we describe five outbreaks of neurological diseases in Mexican feedlots in which BPR, botulism and PEM were diagnosed either independently or in combination. A diagram illustrating the most conspicuous pathologic findings and ancillary laboratory test required to confirm the diagnoses of these neurological diseases in feedlot cattle is proposed.
Feedlot cattle; Bovine paralytic rabies; Botulism; Thrombotic meningoencephalitis; Polioencephalomalacia; Mexico
The molecular diversity of rumen methanogens in feedlot cattle and the composition of the methanogen populations in these animals from two geographic locations were investigated using 16S rRNA gene libraries prepared from pooled PCR products from 10 animals in Ontario (127 clones) and 10 animals from Prince Edward Island (114 clones). A total of 241 clones were examined, with Methanobrevibacter ruminantium accounting for more than one-third (85 clones) of the clones identified. From these 241 clones, 23 different 16S rRNA phylotypes were identified. Feedlot cattle from Ontario, which were fed a corn-based diet, revealed 11 phylotypes (38 clones) not found in feedlot cattle from Prince Edward Island, whereas the Prince Edward Island cattle, which were fed potato by-products as a finishing diet, had 7 phylotypes (42 clones) not found in cattle from Ontario. Five sequences, representing the remaining 161 clones (67% of the clones), were common in both herds. Of the 23 different sequences, 10 sequences (136 clones) were 89.8 to 100% similar to those from cultivated methanogens belonging to the orders Methanobacteriales, Methanomicrobiales, and Methanosarcinales, and the remaining 13 sequences (105 clones) were 74.1 to 75.8% similar to those from Thermoplasma volcanium and Thermoplasma acidophilum. Overall, nine possible new species were identified from the two clone libraries, including two new species belonging to the order Methanobacteriales and a new genus/species within the order Methanosarcinales. From the present survey, it is difficult to conclude whether the geographical isolation between these two herds or differences between the two finishing diets directly influenced community structure in the rumen. Further studies are warranted to properly assess the differences between these two finishing diets.
The results of the second year of the project confirmed most of the major findings from the initial year. Feeding cornsilage, particularly as the major roughage in the first month after arrival was associated with excess mortality. Mixing of cattle from different sources and vaccinating against respiratory disease appeared to be the most important additional factors that increased mortality rates. Delaying vaccination at least two days postarrival may have prevented the negative effects of vaccination but only in calves fed cornsilage. Morbidity rates were highly variable among farms but were positively correlated with mortality rates and treatment costs. The occurrence of infectious thromboembolic meningoencephalitis appeared to share some of the same risk factors as mortality; whereas, urolithiasis did not. Water deprivation may be a risk factor in the occurrence of urolithiasis. Fibrinous pneumonia was again the most frequent cause of death. Relative to year one, infectious thromboembolic meningoencephalitis increased in frequency and only one death was attributed to bovine virus diarrhea.
Kidneys from 117 cattle from 110 Ontario farms were examined at slaughter for leptospires. Leptospira hardjo (hardjo-bovis A) was isolated from 11 kidneys and L. kennewicki from one. The isolations were all made (12/89, 13.5%) from beef cattle from feedlots, no isolates being obtained from dairy or beef cattle from extensive farms (0/28). Isolations were only made from cattle with antibody titers (greater than or equal to 20) against the serovars recovered. Isolation was more sensitive than immunofluorescence in identifying leptospira, particularly in animals with low antibody titers against L. hardjo. Leptospira were isolated from two kidneys with multiple gross lesions of focal nephritis, but there was no correlation between the presence of scanty kidney lesions and isolations of leptospira. Leptospira hardjo infection appears to be common in Ontario feedlot cattle.
Actinobacillus suis was isolated from tissues of 39 pigs, 2 porcine lungs, and 1 uterine swab submitted for diagnostic evaluation from 24 farms in southwestern Ontario between 1985 and 1988. These isolates represented a gradually increasing incidence of herd outbreaks caused by A. suis in southwestern Ontario. The outbreaks were typified by sudden death in suckling or recently weaned pigs; 87% of the affected pigs examined at the laboratory were between two and 28 days old. Petechial to ecchymotic hemorrhages in the thoracic and abdominal organs accompanied by serofibrinous exudates in both cavities were the most common gross lesions. The lesions were characterized histologically by bacterial thromboembolism and necrosis randomly scattered in thoracic and abdominal organs. Occasionally, bacterial thromboemboli were surrounded by centrifugally radiating, eosinophilic, club-like colonies. Diffuse necrohemorrhagic myocarditis that was more severe in the atria, and diffuse subacute meningoencephalitis, were less frequent but distinctive lesions. Multiple litters were affected in most herd outbreaks, and mortality often approached 50% in affected litters. Although the A. suis organism was susceptible to nearly every antibiotic against which it was tested, the suddenness of herd outbreaks precluded attempts at treatment.
An outbreak of cysticercosis (infestation with the larvae of Taenia saginata) occurred in feedlot cattle in Ontario in 1986. Two hundred and thirty-three of 271 steers were confirmed histologically to be positive for cysticerci. Nineteen (8.2%) animals had viable cysticerci, 87 (37.3%) had degenerated cysticerci, 77 (33.0%) had mineralized cysticerci, and 50 (21.5%) steers had lymphoid granulomas consistent with cysticercosis. Three viable cysticerci were partly evaginated and one degenerate cysticercus was fully evaginated.
Blood samples from 32 groups of calves (n = 700) were taken on arrival and after 28-35 days at the feedlot. Eleven groups were housed in feedlots in Ontario, and 21 groups in feedlots in Alberta. Serum antibody titers to bovine viral diarrhea virus (BVDV), bovine respiratory syncytial virus (BRSV), parainfluenza virus type 3 (PIV-3), infectious bovine rhinotracheitis virus (IBRV), Mycoplasma dispar and M. bovis, plus data on bovine corona virus (BCV) from a previous study were investigated for their association with the risk of bovine respiratory disease (BRD), and with 28-day weight change, both before and after controlling for titers to Pasteurella haemolytica and Haemophilus somnus. Exposure to IBRV and M. bovis was infrequent, and although exposure to PIV-3 was more common, none of these agents had important associations with BRD. Higher titers to BVDV, BRSV, and BCV on arrival were associated with reduced risks of BRD and increased weight gains. However, there was some variation in these relationships and higher arrival titers to BVDV and BRSV in a subset of the calves were associated with increased risks of BRD. Titer increases to BVDV were associated with a higher risk of BRD and lower weight gains. Titer increases to BRSV were not usually associated with the occurrence of BRD, but titer increases to BRSV in a subset of calves that were vaccinated against BRSV, on arrival, were associated with an elevated risk of BRD. Of all the agents studied, BVDV had the most consistent associations with elevated risk of BRD and lower weight gains. Higher BRSV arrival titers were related to lower risk of BRD and higher weight gains; in some instances titer increases to BRSV were associated with higher BRD risk. Higher titers to BCV on arrival were related to reduced risks of BRD. Practical ways of adequately preventing the negative effects of these agents are still needed.
Nonimmune binding of immunoglobulin to whole bacteria was quantitated for North American isolates of Haemophilus somnus recovered from cattle with pneumonia, reproductive failure (abortion), or thromboembolic meningoencephalitis or from the vagina or prepuce of carrier cattle. Quantitative binding activity covered a wide range, with most pathogenic and carrier isolates demonstrating significant immunoglobulin-Fc binding. Isolates for which Fc binding was not detectable were recovered only from the prepuces of asymptomatic bulls. Expression of Fc-binding activity correlated with the presence of the 41,000-molecular-weight protein (41K protein) and 270K protein. Isolates that lacked Fc-binding activity did not possess 41K or 270K protein. A 33K protein was detected in isolates that lacked Fc-binding activity but not in isolates that bound Fc.
A 78-kilodalton (kDa) outer membrane protein (OMP) of Haemophilus somnus was one of the two antigens most consistently and most intensely immunoreactive in Western immunoblots of whole cells of H. somnus reacted with convalescent-phase serum obtained from cattle with experimental H. somnus pneumonia. This antigen was isolated by gel filtration chromatography of sodium dodecyl sulfate-solubilized OMP. Reactions of Western blots with bovine monospecific antiserum prepared against the 78-kDa antigen indicated that this 78-kDa OMP was present in each of 22 isolates of H. somnus obtained from cattle with pneumonia, thromboembolic meningoencephalitis, and abortion as well as from vaginal or preputial carriers. The 78-kDa OMP was also present in each isolate obtained weekly throughout the course of experimental H. somnus pneumonia in a calf. Monospecific antiserum to the 78-kDa OMP also reacted with proteins from closely related bacterial species in the family Pasteurellaceae but not with bacteria of 13 other genera. The 78-kDa OMP of H. somnus is of interest because it is surface accessible, highly conserved, immunogenic, cross-reactive with other members of the family Pasteurellaceae, and reactive with convalescent-phase serum which is passively protective against H. somnus pneumonia.
Intensive livestock production systems are particularly vulnerable to natural or intentional (bioterrorist) infectious disease outbreaks. Large numbers of animals housed within a confined area enables rapid dissemination of most infectious agents throughout a herd. Rapid containment is key to controlling any infectious disease outbreak, thus depopulation is often undertaken to prevent spread of a pathogen to the larger livestock population. In that circumstance, a large number of livestock carcasses and contaminated manure are generated that require rapid disposal.
Composting lends itself as a rapid-response disposal method for infected carcasses as well as manure and soil that may harbor infectious agents. We designed a bio-contained mortality composting procedure and tested its efficacy for bovine tissue degradation and microbial deactivation. We used materials available on-farm or purchasable from local farm supply stores in order that the system can be implemented at the site of a disease outbreak. In this study, temperatures exceeded 55°C for more than one month and infectious agents implanted in beef cattle carcasses and manure were inactivated within 14 days of composting. After 147 days, carcasses were almost completely degraded. The few long bones remaining were further degraded with an additional composting cycle in open windrows and the final mature compost was suitable for land application.
Duplicate compost structures (final dimensions 25 m x 5 m x 2.4 m; L x W x H) were constructed using barley straw bales and lined with heavy black silage plastic sheeting. Each was loaded with loose straw, carcasses and manure totaling ~95,000 kg. A 40-cm base layer of loose barley straw was placed in each bunker, onto which were placed 16 feedlot cattle mortalities (average weight 343 kg) aligned transversely at a spacing of approximately 0.5 m. For passive aeration, lengths of flexible, perforated plastic drainage tubing (15 cm diameter) were placed between adjacent carcasses, extending vertically along both inside walls, and with the ends passed though the plastic to the exterior. The carcasses were overlaid with moist aerated feedlot manure (~1.6 m deep) to the top of the bunker. Plastic was folded over the top and sealed with tape to establish a containment barrier and eight aeration vents (50 x 50 x 15 cm) were placed on the top of each structure to promote passive aeration. After 147 days, losses of volume and mass of composted materials averaged 39.8% and 23.7%, respectively, in each structure.
The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of bovine viral diarrhea virus (BVDV) infections (unapparent acute infections and persistent infections) on the overall health and performance of feedlot cattle. Calves from 25 pens (7132 calves) were enrolled in the study. Overall and infectious disease mortality rates were significantly higher (P < 0.05) in pens categorized at arrival as positive for type I BVDV and lower in pens that were positive for type II BVDV than in negative pens. Mortality attributed to BVDV infection or enteritis was significantly more common (P < 0.05) in the pens containing persistently infected (PI) calves than in pens not containing PI calves (non-PI pens). There were no statistically detectable (P ≥ 0.05) differences in morbidity, overall mortality, average daily gain, or the dry matter intake to gain ratio between PI and non-PI pens. Although type-I BVDV infections in feedlots appear to contribute to higher mortality rates, the presence of PI calves alone does not appear to have a strong impact on pen-level animal health and feedlot performance.
Thirty-five vaccinates and 29 control beef calves from five farms were studied. Vaccinates in group 1 received a modified live virus vaccine against infectious bovine rhinotracheitis (IBR) and bovine virus diarrhea (BVD) 30 days after shipment; vaccinates in groups 2, 3 and 4 received live virus vaccines agains IBR and bovine parainfluenza 3 (PI3) seven to 17 days before shipment. Half of group 5 were given bovine origin antiserum containing antibodies against IBR, BVD and PI3. Three weeks later, the animals that had received serum were given a live modified vaccine containing IBR, BVD and PI3. In group 1, WBC counts were lower in the vaccinates than in the controls for two weeks after vaccination. WBC counts in groups 3 and 4 were higher in vaccinates than in controls after addition to the feedlot. Seroconversions to BVD virus occured in all groups. Clinical disease apparently due to BVD affected one vaccinated calf in group 2 and eight calves in group 5. Combined weight gains were significantly higher in three groups of calves vaccinated before shipment compared to unvaccinated control animals after addition to the feedlot. Vaccination with IBR and PI3 live virus vaccines should be given at least 17 days before shipment to feedlots containing infected cattle. Antiserum containing antibodies against the three viruses showed no apparent advantage in preventing clinical respiratory disease over control calves not receiving the serum.
The purpose of this study was to describe the prevalence and longitudinal distribution of Escherichia coli O157 in feedlot cattle and the feedlot environment. Pen floors, water tanks, other cattle in the feedlot, feed, and bird feces were sampled for 2 weeks prior to entry of the study cattle. Twelve pens of study cattle were sampled twice weekly. At each sample time cattle feces, water from tanks in each pen, bunk feed, feed components, bird feces, and houseflies were collected. Bunk feed samples were collected before and after cattle had access to the feed. Overall, 28% of cattle fecal samples, 3.9% of bird fecal samples, 25% of water samples, 3.4% of housefly samples, 1.25% of bunk feed before calf access, and 3.25% of bunk feed samples after cattle had access to the feed were positive for E. coli O157. Genetic analysis of E. coli O157 isolates was done using pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE). PFGE types identified in sampling of the feedlot prior to calf entry were different than the majority of types identified following calf entry. A single strain type predominated in the samples collected after entry of the cattle. It was first identified 5 days after entry of the first pen of cattle and was subsequently identified in all pens. Data support that the incoming cattle introduced a new strain that became the predominant strain in the feedlot.
In the United States, the blaCMY-2 gene contained within incompatibility type A/C (IncA/C) plasmids is frequently identified in extended-spectrum-cephalosporin-resistant (ESCr) Escherichia coli strains from both human and cattle sources. Concerns have been raised that therapeutic use of ceftiofur in cattle may increase the prevalence of ESCr
E. coli. We report that herd ESCr
E. coli fecal and hide prevalences throughout the residency of cattle at a feedlot, including during the period of greatest ceftiofur use at the feedlot, were either not significantly different (P ≥ 0.05) or significantly less (P < 0.05) than the respective prevalences at arrival. Longitudinal sampling of cattle treated with ceftiofur demonstrated that once the transient increase of ESCr
E. coli shedding that follows ceftiofur injection abated, ceftiofur-injected cattle were no more likely than untreated members of the same herd to shed ESCr
E. coli. Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) genotyping, antibiotic resistance phenotyping, screening for presence of the blaCMY-2 gene, and plasmid replicon typing were performed on 312 ESCr
E. coli isolates obtained during six sampling periods spanning the 10-month residence of cattle at the feedlot. The identification of only 26 unique PFGE genotypes, 12 of which were isolated during multiple sampling periods, suggests that clonal expansion of feedlot-adapted blaCMY-2
E. coli strains contributed more to the persistence of blaCMY-2 than horizontal transfer of IncA/C plasmids between E. coli strains at this feedlot. We conclude that therapeutic use of ceftiofur at this cattle feedlot did not significantly increase the herd prevalence of ESCr
Studies were performed to establish the prevalence and importance of tail tip necrosis in the southern Ontario beef feedlot industry and to characterize the gross appearance and histopathology of the condition. In a mail survey, 96% of 71 feedlots with slatted floors, but only 5% of 184 feedlots with solid floors, reported a problem with tail tip necrosis from 1982-1986. Treatments reported included antibiotics, amputation of the tail (therapeutic or preventive), and slaughter. Lameness was associated with tail tip necrosis.
A scoring system for severity of necrosis was developed. Repeated inspections revealed that mild lesions were unlikely to progress to more severe stages. Histological alterations such as perivascular edema and hemorrhage, dermal scarring, follicular atrophy, and paucity of leukocytes were compatible with cutaneous ischemia.
Of 441 tails inspected at slaughter plants, 34.5% were affected, with 3.4% involving skin lacerations and infection, and 4.3% amputated before slaughter.
Giardia duodenalis is a ubiquitous protozoan parasite that has emerged as a significant opportunistic human pathogen. G. duodenalis may have a deleterious effect on animal growth and performance, therefore its potential as a production limiting organism should not be discounted. We therefore undertook this study to determine management and environmental factors in feedlots that influence the prevalence and environmental load of G. duodenalis cysts in fecal material deposited by feedlot cattle in the central and western United States.
Twenty two feedlots from 7 states were included in the study, and up to 240 fecal samples were collected from pen floors of up to 6 pens per feedlot. Giardia duodenalis cysts were identified and counted using direct immunofluorescent microscopy. The estimated overall point prevalence of G. duodenalis was 19.1%, representing feedlots from a wide range of climates and management systems. Pen-level prevalence varied from 0 to 63.3%, with pen-level shedding estimates ranging from 0 to 261,000 cysts/g feces. Higher environmental temperatures, increased animal density, and increased time in the feedlot were associated with a lower prevalence of G. duodenalis. Removing manure before placing a new group of cattle in a pen was associated with a decreased prevalence of G. duodenalis in fecal pats. Using coccidiostats as a feed additive was associated with a higher prevalence of Giardia.
Management practices could be employed that would limit the probability that feedlot cattle shed G. duodenalis in their feces and therefore potentially limit contamination of their environment.
Three years of data on factors associated with death losses and health costs in Ontario feedlot calves were analyzed. The results support the previously reported findings; however, significant differences in the third year (1980-81) of the study were noted. Calf groups that were "mixed" after arrival in the feedlot or had a larger than average number of calves (means = 142) had increased death losses and health costs. Calf groups whose ration was changed from dry hay to hay silage or corn silage as the major component of the ration during the first month after arrival had higher death losses and health costs. Feeding grain (barley/oats/corn) prior to, or concurrent with, the change to silage appeared to decrease the harmful effects. Cattle groups vaccinated against respiratory disease within two weeks of arrival experienced increased death losses and health costs. These effects were ameliorated by delaying vaccination in groups switched to silage; however, no benefits from delaying vaccination were noted in dry hay fed groups. Prophylactic antimicrobials in the water supply during the first week after arrival appeared particularly deleterious to the health of calf groups. The effects of prophylactic antimicrobials in the starter ration were unclear. During 1980-81, there was a marked decrease in the relative importance of fibrinous pneumonia as a cause of death and the feeding of silage was not significantly associated with mortality. Both these events may have arisen from the drastic decrease in the percentage of groups fed silage by two weeks postarrival (from 32% in previous years to 7% in 1980-81).
A mail survey of feedlot owners was conducted to evaluate the efficacy of prophylactic antimicrobials, given in the water, or in the ration at preventing illness and/or death. One hundred and twenty-seven farmers from southwestern Ontario collaborated in the study. The percentage of calves requiring individual antimicrobial treatment, for any reason within 28 days of arrival was 22.6% (median 17.8%) and 0.6% (median 0.2%) died in that period. The use of medicated starter rations was not associated with either treatment or mortality rates until the effects of a number of other variables were controlled, analytically. Thereafter, the use of medicated feed was associated with a decrease in mortality rate, but was unrelated to morbidity rate. Overall, the use of medicated water was not associated with treatment or mortality rates. The use of sulphonamides was associated with decreased morbidity, but increased mortality rates. After controlling, analytically using multiple regression, the effects of other variables, the use of medicated water was associated with a significant increase in mortality rates. The other major factors which influenced mortality rates were the number of calves per group, the number of subgroups of calves in each group and whether the group contained cattle from different sources; all were related to increased mortality rates. During a two year period, more feedlot owners appeared to be using medicated rations as opposed to medicated water, as a means of providing antimicrobials to their newly arrived calves.
The design and results of a mail survey of a simple random sample of southwestern Ontario feedlot owners are presented. The survey provided general data about management of feedlot calves and the association between a number of factors and disease and/or death rates. The number of calves purchased was related positively, in a linear manner, to mortality and morbidity rates. Increased levels of morbidity and mortality were noted when the ration was changed to corn silage from dry-hay within the first month after arrival. However, it was not clear whether the ration changes preceded or followed increased rates of morbidity and mortality. Prophylactic levels of antimicrobials in the water supply were associated with increased death losses. Shipping cattle by truck, rather than train, was associated with decreased rates of disease. Processing factors, including using vaccines against respiratory disease, were not associated significantly with mortality or morbidity. It was concluded that reducing the number of calves, to approximately 100 per group, not changing the ration to silage within the first month and not using antibiotics in the water supply on arrival could significantly reduce disease and death losses.
The antigens of Haemophilus somnus recognized by convalescent bovine serum were studied by sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis and Western blotting with a protein A-peroxidase conjugate. The same two 76K and 40K antigens were predominant in whole-bacterium preparations and in outer-membrane-enriched, Triton X-100-insoluble fractions. The surface location of these two antigens was confirmed by absorbing antiserum with whole, live bacteria. Absorption with H. somnus removed antibody reactivity for the 76K antigen and reduced reactivity for the 40K antigen. Absorption with Pasteurella multocida, Actinobacillus equuli, or Escherichia coli did not reduce reactivity, and results with Pasteurella haemolytica were equivocal. The two immunodominant antigens detected in this study were conserved in isolates of H. somnus from thromboembolic meningoencephalitis, pneumonia, reproductive failure, or asymptomatic carriers. Convalescent sera from nearly all 17 cattle studied recognized these two antigens. Other antigens were recognized less consistently. Although other antigens may also be involved, the 76K and 40K surface antigens of H. somnus appear to be important candidates for a subunit vaccine or an immunodiagnostic assay.
Five field trials evaluated whether immunization of beef cattle prior to weaning, at weaning, or immediately upon arrival at the feedlot with a commercial bovine respiratory syncytial virus (BRSV) vaccine would reduce subsequent treatment for respiratory disease.
Bovine respiratory syncytial virus vaccination was associated with a significant (p<0.05) reduction in treatment rate in one of three groups of calves immunized prior to weaning (−12%) and in calves immunized upon arrival at the feedlot (−4%).
There was no significant (p>0.05) effect of the BRSV vaccine on treatment rate in calves immunized at weaning, in calves immunized upon arrival at the Saskatoon bull test station, or in yearlings immunized upon arrival at the feedlot.
Although the trend in these field trials was to a sparing effect of the BRSV vaccine, the small reduction in treatment rate may not justify the cost of the vaccination program.
The prevalence of Escherichia coli O157 associated with feedlot cattle in Saskatchewan was determined in a 10-month longitudinal study (3 feedlots) and a point prevalence study (20 feedlots). The prevalence of E. coli O157 at the three different sites in the horizontal study varied from 2.5 to 45%. The point prevalence of E. coli O157 among Saskatchewan cattle from 20 different feedlots ranged from 0% to a high of 57%. A statistically significant (P = 0.003) positive correlation was determined to exist between the density of cattle and the E. coli O157 prevalence rate. A significant correlation (P = 0.006) was also found between the E. coli O157 percent prevalence and the number of cattle housed/capacity ratio. All 194 E. coli O157 isolates obtained were highly virulent, and random amplified polymorphic DNA PCR analysis revealed that the isolates grouped into 39 different E. coli O157 subtypes, most of which were indigenous to specific feedlots. Two of the most predominant subtypes were detected in 11 different feedlots and formed distinct clusters in two geographic regions in the province. Antimicrobial susceptibility testing of the E. coli O157 isolates revealed that 10 were multidrug resistant and that 73 and 5 were resistant to sulfisoxazole and tetracycline, respectively.
This fecal prevalence study targeted cattle from 7 large (10 000 to > 40 000 head) commercial feedlots in Alberta as a means of establishing Campylobacter levels in cattle just prior to animals entering the food chain. Overall, 87% [95% confidence interval (CI) = 86–88] of 2776 fresh pen-floor fecal samples were culture positive for Campylobacter species, with prevalences ranging from 76% to 95% among the 7 feedlots. Campylobacter spp. prevalence was 88% (95% CI = 86–90) in the summer (n = 1376) and 86% (95% CI = 85–88) in the winter (n = 1400). In addition, 69% (95% CI = 66–71) of 1486 Campylobacter spp. positive samples were identified as Campylobacter jejuni using hippurate hydrolysis testing. Of those, 64% (95% CI = 58–70) of 277 and 70% (95% CI = 67–72) of 1209 Campylobacter isolates were identified as C. jejuni in winter and summer, respectively. After accounting for clustering within pen and feedlot, feedlot size and the number of days on feed were associated with Campylobacter spp. isolation rates. The high isolation rates of Campylobacter spp. and C. jejuni in feedlot cattle feces in this study suggest a potential role for feedlot cattle in the complex epidemiology of campylobacters in Alberta.
Q or “query” fever is a zoonosis caused by the organism Coxiella burnetii. Cattle, sheep and goats are the most common reservoirs of this organism. The placenta of infected animals contains high numbers (up to 109/g) of C. burnetii. Aerosols occur at the time of parturition and man becomes infected following inhalation of the microorganism. The spectrum of illness in man is wide and consists of acute and chronic forms. Acute Q fever is most often a self-limited flu-like illness but may include pneumonia, hepatitis, or meningoencephalitis. Chronic Q fever almost always means endocarditis and rarely osteomyelitis. Chronic Q fever is not known to occur in animals other than man. An increased abortion and stillbirth rate are seen in infected domestic ungulates.
Four provinces (Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Ontario and Alberta) reported cases of Q fever in 1989.
A vaccine for Q fever has recently been licensed in Australia.