Heterogeneous shedding of Escherichia coli O157 in cattle and its implications for control

Matthews, L. et al. (2006) Heterogeneous shedding of Escherichia coli O157 in cattle and its implications for control. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 103(3), pp. 547-552. (doi:10.1073/pnas.0503776103)

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Abstract

Identification of the relative importance of within- and between-host variability in infectiousness and the impact of these heterogeneities on the transmission dynamics of infectious agents can enable efficient targeting of control measures. Cattle, a major reservoir host for the zoonotic pathogen Escherichia coli O157, are known to exhibit a high degree of heterogeneity in bacterial shedding densities. By relating bacterial count to infectiousness and fitting dynamic epidemiological models to prevalence data from a cross-sectional survey of cattle farms in Scotland, we identify a robust pattern: ≈80% of the transmission arises from the 20% most infectious individuals. We examine potential control options under a range of assumptions about within- and between-host variability in infection dynamics. Our results show that the within-herd basic reproduction ratio, R 0, could be reduced to <1 with targeted measures aimed at preventing infection in the 5% of individuals with the highest overall infectiousness. Alternatively, interventions such as vaccination or the use of probiotics that aim to reduce bacterial carriage could produce dramatic reductions in R 0 by preventing carriage at concentrations corresponding to the top few percent of the observed range of counts. We conclude that a greater understanding of the cause of the heterogeneity in bacterial carriage could lead to highly efficient control measures to reduce the prevalence of E. coli O157.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Mellor, Professor Dominic and Matthews, Professor Louise and Reid, Professor Stuart
Authors: Matthews, L., Low, J., Gally, D., Pearce, M., Mellor, D., Heesterbeek, J., Chase-Topping, M., Naylor, S., Shaw, D., Reid, S., Gunn, G., and Woolhouse, M.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health and Comparative Medicine
College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Veterinary Medicine
Journal Name:Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Publisher:National Academy of Sciences
ISSN:0027-8424
ISSN (Online):1091-6490

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