Detection and Isolation of Escherichia coli O157:H7 in Beef from Food Markets and Fecal Samples of Dairy Calves in the Peruvian Central Highlands

Brenda L. Gonzales Department of Animal and Public Health, School of Veterinary Medicine, Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos, Lima, Peru;
Tropical and Highlands Veterinary Research Institute, Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos, Jauja, Peru;

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Daniel A. Andrade Department of Animal and Public Health, School of Veterinary Medicine, Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos, Lima, Peru;
Tropical and Highlands Veterinary Research Institute, Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos, Jauja, Peru;

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Cesar A. Valdivia Department of Animal and Public Health, School of Veterinary Medicine, Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos, Lima, Peru;
Tropical and Highlands Veterinary Research Institute, Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos, Jauja, Peru;

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Ana C. Ho-Palma Department of Human Medicine, School of Human Medicine, Universidad Nacional del Centro del Perú, Huancayo, Peru;

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Astrid Munguia Department of Animal and Public Health, School of Veterinary Medicine, Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos, Lima, Peru;

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Dora Yucra Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and Zootechnics, Universidad Nacional Micaela Bastidas de Apurímac, Abancay, Peru;

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Max Escobedo Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and Zootechnics, Universidad Nacional Micaela Bastidas de Apurímac, Abancay, Peru;

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Matteo Crotta Veterinary Epidemiology, Economics and Public Health Group, Department of Pathobiology and Population Sciences, The Royal Veterinary College, Hertfordshire, United Kingdom

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Georgina Limon Veterinary Epidemiology, Economics and Public Health Group, Department of Pathobiology and Population Sciences, The Royal Veterinary College, Hertfordshire, United Kingdom

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Armando Gonzalez Department of Animal and Public Health, School of Veterinary Medicine, Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos, Lima, Peru;

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Javier Guitian Veterinary Epidemiology, Economics and Public Health Group, Department of Pathobiology and Population Sciences, The Royal Veterinary College, Hertfordshire, United Kingdom

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Eloy Gonzales-Gustavson Department of Animal and Public Health, School of Veterinary Medicine, Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos, Lima, Peru;
Tropical and Highlands Veterinary Research Institute, Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos, Jauja, Peru;

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ABSTRACT.

Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) O157:H7 is a food and waterborne pathogen with severe public health implications. We report the first-time isolation of this pathogen in the Central Highlands of Peru through standardized culture procedures and polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Escherichia coli strains were cultured from rectal-anal swabs from dairy calves and beef from food markets. The latex agglutination test was used to detect O157 and H7 antigens, and multiplex real-time PCR was carried out to detect virulence-related genes. The STEC O157:H7 strains were isolated from 3.5% (1/28) of beef samples and from 6.0% (3/50) of dairy calves that also carried both eaeA and stx1 genes. Therefore, this pathogen is a potential cause of food/waterborne disease in the region, and its surveillance in both livestock and their products should be improved to characterize the impact of its zoonotic transmission. From 2010 to 2020, E. coli was suspected in 10 outbreaks reported to the Peruvian Ministry of Health. Isolates from future outbreaks should be characterized to assess the burden posed by STEC O157:H7 in Peru.

Author Notes

Address correspondence to Eloy Gonzales-Gustavson, Department of Animal and Public Health, School of Veterinary Medicine, Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos, Av. Circunvalacion 2800, San Borja 15021, Lima 41, Peru. E-mail: egonzalesg@unmsm.edu.pe

These authors contributed equally to this work.

Financial support: E. G.-G., J. G., and A. G. are funded by Concytec/ProCiencia (Reference 0247-2019-PROCIENCIA) and the Medical Research Council (Reference MR/S025049/1) through a Newton-Paulet Fund project.

Authors’ addresses: Brenda L. Gonzales, Daniel A. Andrade, Cesar A. Valdivia, and Eloy Gonzales-Gustavson, Department of Animal and Public Health, School of Veterinary Medicine, Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos, Lima, Peru, and Tropical and Highlands Veterinary Research Institute, Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos, Jauja, Peru, E-mails: brenda.gonzales@unmsm.edu.pe, daniel.andrade@unmsm.edu.pe, cesar.valdivia@unmsm.edu.pe, egonzalesg@unmsm.edu.pe. Ana C. Ho-Palma, Department of Human Medicine, School of Human Medicine, Universidad Nacional del Centro del Perú, Huancayo, Peru, E-mail: ahopalma@uncp.edu.pe. Astrid Munguia and Armando Gonzalez, Department of Animal and Public Health, School of Veterinary Medicine, Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos, Lima, Peru, E-mails: e_2014200530h@uncp.edu.pe and agonzalezz@unmsm.edu.pe. Dora Yucra and Max Escobedo, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and Zootechnics, Universidad Nacional Micaela Bastidas de Apurímac, Abancay, Peru, E-mails: dyucra@unamba.edu.pe and mescobedo@unamba.edu.pe. Matteo Crotta, Georgina Limon, and Javier Guitian, Veterinary Epidemiology, Economics and Public Health Group, Department of Pathobiology and Population Sciences, The Royal Veterinary College, Hertfordshire, United Kingdom, E-mails: mcrotta4@rvc.ac.uk, georgina.limon-vega@pirbright.ac.uk, and jguitian@rvc.ac.uk.

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