Med. Weter. 68 (8), 488-492, 2012

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Łopatek M., Wieczorek K., Osek J.
Study of occurrence of verotoxigenic Escherichia coli in food in Poland
Verotoxin-producing Escherichia coli (VTEC) strains are enteric bacteria which cause severe consequences of food-borne infections in humans. Most of the illnesses caused by VTEC are attributed to serotype O157:H7 and O157:H-. In recent years the strains belonging to non-O157 serogroups, including the highly virulent E. coli O104:H4 strain which was the cause of an epidemic in Germany in 2011, also have an important significance. The present study shows the examination results of samples from cattle carried out between 2004-2010. The investigations were conducted under the direction of VTEC under two monitoring programs. In the first of them, a total of 1,584 samples collected from bovine carcasses as well as beef meat were tested. In the second study, 406 swabs from carcasses and 417 from beef meat were used. It was found that in the first monitoring program 51 (3.2%) samples possessed the vtx gene. In the second project, from 69 positive samples for VTEC obtained after the first PCR reaction only 29 bacterial isolates were received. These strains were used to determine the serotypes. The most frequent verotoxigenic E. coli belonged to serotypes O181:H49 (n = 4), O2:H[32] (n = 4), as well as serogroups O91 (n = 3) and O113 (n = 3). The detection of VTEC, including E. coli O104:H4, in vegetables was based on the real-time PCR method. The examined material consisted of 443 fresh vegetable samples. The vtx1 and vtx2 genes were not identified, which indicates that the analyzed samples were not contaminated with VTEC strains, including O104:H4 serotype.
Key words: VTEC, serotype E. coli O104:H4, bovine carcasses, beef meat, vegetables