Comparison of fecal versus rectoanal mucosal swab sampling for detecting Escherichia coli O157:H7 in experimentally inoculated cattle used in assessing bacteriophage as a mitigation strategy.

Niu, Y.D., McAllister, T.A., Rozema, E.A., Stephens, T.P., Bach, S.J., Johnson, R.P., and Stanford, K.I.M. (2008). "Comparison of fecal versus rectoanal mucosal swab sampling for detecting Escherichia coli O157:H7 in experimentally inoculated cattle used in assessing bacteriophage as a mitigation strategy.", Journal of Food Protection, 71(4), pp. 691-698.

Abstract

This study was conducted to compare fecal grab (FEC) and rectoanal mucosal swab (RAMS) techniques as sampling methods for surveillance of Escherichia coli O157:H7 in conjunction with administration of a mitigation therapy. The study was nested within a larger experiment that investigated bacteriophage as a preharvest strategy for controlling E. coli 0157: H7 in feedlot steers. Samples (FEC and RAMS) were collected from 16 of the 32 feedlot steers (control and oral bacteriophage treatment; n = 8) involved in the mitigation study. All steers had been inoculated on day 0 with 1010 CFU of nalidixic acidresistant E. coli 0157:H7, and samples were collected on 16 occasions over the next 83 days. FEC samples were assessed by direct plating of serial dilutions in PBS, plus a 6-h enrichment and immunomagnetic separation when E. coli O157:H7 concentrations were below limits detectable by direct plating (i.e., <1 log CFU/g). All RAMS samples were assessed by enrichment and immunoma gnetic separation. E. coli 0157:H7 was detected more frequently (P < 0.01) by FEC than by RAMS. Overall, 213 of 256 samples were positive either by FEC or RAMS. Discrepancies between sampling techniques were observed in 63 of the 213 positive samples; FEC missed 11 samples that were positive by RAMS, and RAMS missed 52 of those positive by FEC (miss rates of 5.16 and 24.41%, respectively). Kappa values (0.36 to 0.45) indicated only fair to moderate agreement between FEC and RAMS results, but this agreement was higher at lower levels of E. coli 0157:H7 shedding (later in the experimental period). Selection of sampling procedure could significantly influence the assessed merit during testing of potential strategies for controlling E. coli O157:H7 on the farm.