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Pathogenic E. coli, cattle, sheep

Several surveys in live cattle was performed in the period 1998-2003. A survey in sheep was performd in 2006-2008. A new programme in cattle started in 2014.

Investigate the prevalence in cattle of zoonotic E. coli (serogroups O26, O103, O111, O145 and O157), which can be classified as Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) (also called Vero toxin-producing E. coli (VTEC)) or the closely related group of atypical enteropathogenic E. coli (aEPEC). aEPEC may be precursors of STEC, but may also cause disease in itself.

In humans, particularly in children, STEC (then called EHEC = enterohemorrhagic E. coli) may cause severe disease such as bloody diarrhea with subsequent renal failure (HUS). In 2013 there has been an increase in the number of cases of EHEC disease in Norway. The same trend has also been registered in other European countries.

From a survey in Norwegian sheep flocks in 2006-2007, we have good data on the prevalence of STEC and aEPEC of these serogroups. For cattle, which are considered the main reservoir for these serogroups, and also the main source of illness in humans, the data are sparse and more than ten years old. The survey starting in 2014 will provide valuable knowledge on the cattle reservoir of these potentially human pathogenic bacteria for the authorities and the scientific community.  


  • Final report - sheep (sampling 2006-2007 - only in Norwegian - see Norwegian page)
  • 2003 (page 83)