Virulence factors and antimicrobial susceptibility of Escherichia coli isolated from calves in Turkey.
Escherichia coli isolates from calves were investigated by multiplex PCR assays for the presence of genes encoding K99, F41, F17-related fimbriae, heat-stabile enterotoxin a (STa), intimin (eae) and Shiga toxins (stx1 and stx2). A total of 120 E. coli isolates, 75 isolated from diarrhoeic or septicemic calves and 45 from clinically healthy calves aged between 1 day and 2 months were tested. Each isolate was obtained from different calves in different herds. Among the isolates from diseased animals, 12 (16%) isolates from 1- to 7-day-old diarrhoeic calves were detected as enterotoxigenic E. coli which possessed K99, F41 and STa in combination; F17-related fimbriae genes were detected in 33 (44%) isolates and they were found in combination with K99+F41+STa in two isolates. Of 120 isolates, 16 carried eae, eight stx1 and five stx2 genes alone or in combination. None of the eae- or stx-positive strains was identified as O157:H7. However, results indicate that calves may be carrier of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli which have potential as a human pathogen. Antimicrobial susceptibility of 75 isolates from diseased calves was determined by agar disk diffusion method for 14 antimicrobial agents. In 77.3% of the isolates, multiresistance was detected. Higher resistance rates were detected for cephalothin (72%), tetracycline (69.3%), kanamycin (69.3%), ampicillin (65.3%), nalidixic acid (53.3%), trimethoprim-sulphamethoxazole (52%) and enrofloxacin (41.3%), respectively. No resistance was found for ceftiofur and cefoxitin.