Publication: Environmental Microbiology
Author(s): Adrian L. Cookson, Jonathan C. Marshall, Patrick J. Biggs, Lynn E. Rogers, Rose M. Collis, Megan Devane, Rebecca Stott, David A. Wilkinson, Janine Kamke, Gale Brightwell
This study takes a systematic sampling approach to assess the public health risk of Escherichia coli recovered from freshwater sites within forest and farmland. The New Zealand landscape is dominated by livestock farming, and previous work has demonstrated that’recreational exposure to water’ is a risk factor for human infection by Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC).
Though STEC isolates were rarely isolated from water samples, STEC-associated virulence factors were identified more commonly from water sample culture enrichments and were associated with increased generic E. coli concentrations.
Whole-genome sequencing data from both E. coli and newly described Escherichia spp. demonstrated the presence of virulence factors from E. coli pathotypes, including extraintestinal pathogenic E. coli. This has significance for understanding and interpreting the potential health risk from E. coli where water quality is poor and suggests a role of virulence factors in survival and persistence of E. coli and Escherichia spp.