Shiga toxin-encoding bacteria (STB) and shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) were detected and isolated from dairy cattle and their farm environment and from manure piles at Minnesota (MN) county fairs from 2001 to 2002. A total of 2540 samples were collected from 28 dairy cattle farms (8 organic and 20 conventional), 17 calf pens (5 organic and 12 conventional), and 12 county fairs. STB were detected from 71 (3.2%) of 2208 fecal samples with 20 (71.4%) of 28 dairy farms having at least one positive animal sample. In samples collected from conventional farms, 41 (2.3%) of 1750 fecal samples were STB-positive and 13 (65%) of 20 farms had at least one positive animal. Thirty (6.6%) of 458 fecal samples from organic farms were STB-positive and 7 (87.5%) of 8 farms had at least one positive animal. STB was detected from 31 (17.4%) of 178 samples and 7 (58.3%) out of 12 manure piles at county fairs. A total of 43 STEC isolates were recovered and belonged to 26 different serotypes (19 O and 18 H types). Among STEC, 60.5% possessed only stx1, 30.2% stx2, and 9.3% both stx1 and stx2. The genes eae and hlyA were detected in more than 50% of the STEC isolates. STB can be found on most dairy cattle farms including organic and conventional herds and county fairs. The presence of these potentially pathogenic bacteria in county fairs may pose a risk to the public who have contact with cattle or their environment.
- County fairs
- Organic farms
- Shiga toxin-encoding bacteria