Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Associations between faecal pathogen detection, E. coli concentrations and youth exhibitor biosecurity practices at California county fairs.

Abstract

Interactions with livestock in public settings such as county and state fairs can expose people and other livestock to faecal material capable of spreading zoonotic enteric pathogens. The goal of this study was to understand these risks by screening livestock faeces (n = 245) and livestock bedding (n = 155) for common zoonotic pathogens (Giardia, Cryptosporidium, Salmonella and Campylobacter spp.) and by measuring faecal indicator, Escherichia coli, concentrations in drinking water (n = 153), feed containers (n = 124) and bedding material (n = 157) in four livestock species (cattle, sheep, goats and swine) from county fairs in California, USA. Results indicated that sheep were most likely to have pathogens detected in faeces and that Giardia was the most frequently detected pathogen in both faeces (11%) and bedding (21%) across all livestock species. Additionally, increasing the number of animals in a holding pen at fairs, increasing the stocking density of animals in transport trailers to fairs, and having access to water in transport trailers significantly increased the odds of detecting pathogens in livestock faeces of any animal species. Observing solid material in water, stale feed and soiled bedding was associated with detecting higher E. coli concentrations. These findings provide evidence of faecal pathogens present at county fairs and suggest that site observations can aid in assessing levels of faecal exposure. The findings also indicate that the use of biosecurity measures such as (a) routine changing of livestock drinking water, feed and bedding, (b) not overstocking animals in holding pens and trailers and (c) keeping species in separate holding areas may reduce the risk of humans and livestock being exposed to faecal pathogens.