Longitudinal Study of Shiga Toxin-Producing Escherichia coli and Campylobacter jejuni on Finnish Dairy Farms and in Raw Milk

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http://hdl.handle.net/10138/303370
Title: Longitudinal Study of Shiga Toxin-Producing Escherichia coli and Campylobacter jejuni on Finnish Dairy Farms and in Raw Milk
Author: Jaakkonen, A.; Castro, H.; Hallanvuo, S.; Ranta, J.; Rossi, M.; Isidro, J.; Lindström, M.; Hakkinen, M.
Date: 2019-03
Belongs to series: Applied and Environmental Microbiology 2019: Vol. 85, No. 7
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10138/303370
Abstract: Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) and Campylobacter jejuni are notable health hazards associated with the consumption of raw milk. These bacteria may colonize the intestines of asymptomatic cattle and enter bulk tank milk via fecal contamination during milking. We studied the frequency of STEC O157:H7 and C. jejuni contamination in tank milk (n = 785) and the in-line milk filters of milking machines (n = 631) versus the frequency of isolation from cattle feces (n = 257) on three Finnish dairy farms for 1 year. Despite simultaneous isolation of STEC O157:H7 (17%) or C. jejuni (53%) from cattle, these bacteria were rarely isolated from milk filters (2% or <1%, respectively) and milk (0%). As revealed by phylogenomics, one STEC O157:H7 strain at a time was detected on each farm and persisted for ≤12 months despite rigorous hygienic measures. C. jejuni strains of a generalist sequence type (ST-883 and ST-1080) persisted in the herds for ≥11 months, and several other C. jejuni types were detected sporadically. The stx gene carried by STEC was detected more frequently from milk filters (37%) than from milk (7%), suggesting that milk filters are more suitable sampling targets for monitoring than milk. A questionnaire of on-farm practices suggested lower stx contamination of milk when major cleansing in the barn, culling, or pasturing of dairy cows was applied, while a higher average outdoor temperature was associated with higher stx contamination. Because pathogen contamination occurred despite good hygiene and because pathogen detection from milk and milk filters proved challenging, we recommend heat treatment for raw milk before consumption.


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