Distribution of the stx1 and stx2 genes in Escherichia coli isolated from milk cattle according to season, age, and production scale in southwestern region of Goias, Brazil
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This study determined the distribution of stx1 and stx2 genes in Escherichia coli isolated from dairy herds with regard to animal age, season, and farm production-scale, and analyzed the phylogenetic distribution of the groups A, B1, B2, and D of 276 isolates of bovine feces Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC). The stx1 profile was the most common, detected in 20.4% (202/990) of the isolates, followed by stx2 (4.54%, 45/990) and stx1+stx2 (2.92%, 29/990). The stx1 gene was detected more frequently in calves than in adult animals. In the dry season (winter), the presence of stx1+stx2 profile in cattle feces was higher than in the rainy season (summer), while no significant changes were observed between seasons for the stx1 and stx2 profiles. The most predominant phylogenetic groups in adult animals were B1, A, and D, while groups A and B1 prevailed in calves. Our data highlight the importance of identifying STEC reservoirs, since 7.5% of the tested isolates were positive for stx2, the main profile responsible for the hemolytic-uremic syndrome (HUS). Moreover, these microorganisms are adapted to survive even in hostile environments and can contaminate the food production chain, posing a significant risk to consumers of animal products.