A new vaccine for cattle slashes the level of E.coli by half. This new vaccine is more potent and needs to be administered only twice instead of three times. While E. coli O157:H7 does not affect cattle, it causes food-borne diseases in humans. Vaccines and other products may be given to cattle to help prevent the spread of the bacteria. David Renter, associate professor of epidemiology at Kansas State University, T.G. Nagaraja, an Indian-American professor of microbiology, and other Kansas researchers worked on the project to gauge effectiveness of products used to prevent the shedding of E. coli O157:H7 in cattle.
“We wanted to test how well these products work to control E. coli O157:H7 in a commercial feedlot with a large population of cattle that were fed in the summer and may be expected to have a high level of E. coli O157:H7,” Renter said. Using a commercial feedlot setting, researchers studied more than 17,000 cattle during an 85-day period. They studied two products: a vaccine and a low-dose direct-fed microbial.
“What’s unique about this study is the number of animals we used, the research setting and that we used commercial products in the way that any cattle producer could use them,” Renter said. “We didn’t want it to be any different than the way somebody would use the products in a commercial feedlot.” The researchers found that the vaccine reduced the number of cattle that were shedding E. coli O157:H7 in faeces by more than 50 percent. E. coli shedding was reduced by more than 75 percent among cattle that were high shedders of E. coli.