Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli in swine: The public health perspective

Marion Tseng, Pina M. Fratamico, Shannon D. Manning, Julie A. Funk

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) strains are food-borne pathogens that are an important public health concern. STEC infection is associated with severe clinical diseases in human beings, including hemorrhagic colitis (HC) and hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), which can lead to kidney failure and death. Cattle are the most important STEC reservoir. However, a number of STEC outbreaks and HUS cases have been attributed to pork products. In swine, STEC strains are known to be associated with edema disease. Nevertheless, the relationship between STEC of swine origin and human illness has yet to be determined. This review critically summarizes epidemiologic and biological studies of swine STEC. Several epidemiologic studies conducted in multiple regions of the world have demonstrated that domestic swine can carry and shed STEC. Moreover, animal studies have demonstrated that swine are susceptible to STEC O157:H7 infection and can shed the bacterium for 2 months. A limited number of molecular epidemiologic studies, however, have provided conflicting evidence regarding the relationship between swine STEC and human illness. The role that swine play in STEC transmission to people and the contribution to human disease frequency requires further evaluation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)63-75
Number of pages13
JournalAnimal Health Research Reviews
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jun 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • food safety
  • shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC)
  • swine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology


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