Genomic diversity of antimicrobial-resistant and Shiga toxin gene-harboring non-O157 Escherichia coli from dairy calves

Serajus Salaheen, Seon Woo Kim, Hayley R. Springer, Ernest P. Hovingh, Jo Ann S. Van Kessel, Bradd J. Haley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Objectives: Shiga toxin–producing Escherichia coli (STEC) are globally significant foodborne pathogens. Dairy calves are a known reservoir of both O157 and non-O157 STEC. The objective of this study was to comprehensively evaluate the genomic attributes, diversity, virulence factors, and antimicrobial resistance gene (ARG) profiles of the STEC from preweaned and postweaned dairy calves in commercial dairy herds. Methods: In total, 31 non-O157 STEC were identified as part of a larger study focused on the pangenome of >1000 E. coli isolates from the faeces of preweaned and postweaned dairy calves on commercial dairy farms. These 31 genomes were sequenced on an Illumina NextSeq500 platform. Results: Based on the phylogenetic analyses, the STEC isolates were determined to be polyphyletic, with at least three phylogroups: A (32%), B1 (58%), and G (3%). These phylogroups represented at least 16 sequence types and 11 serogroups, including two of the ‘big six’ serogroups, O103 and O111. Several Shiga toxin gene subtypes were identified in the genomes, including stx1a, stx2a, stx2c, stx2d, and stx2g. Using the ResFinder database, the majority of the isolates (>50%) were determined to be multidrug-resistant strains because they harboured genes conferring resistance to three or more classes of antimicrobials, including some of human health significance (e.g., β-lactams, macrolides, and fosfomycin). Additionally, non-O157 STEC strain persistence and transmission within a farm was observed. Conclusion: Dairy calves are a reservoir of phylogenomically diverse multidrug-resistant non-O157 STEC. Information from this study may inform assessments of public health risk and guide preharvest prevention strategies focusing on STEC reservoirs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)164-170
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Global Antimicrobial Resistance
StatePublished - Jun 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Microbiology
  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Microbiology (medical)


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