Braz J Microbiol. 2021 Jul 9. doi: 10.1007/s42770-021-00561-9. Online ahead of print.
Shiga toxigenic Escherichia coli (STEC) is one of the most important food-borne zoonotic bacterial pathogens responsible for causing gastrointestinal infections, haemorrhagic colitis and haemolytic uremic syndrome. The present study was aimed to isolate and characterize STEC from neonatal dairy calves, animal handlers and their surrounding environment and to establish the genetic relationship among isolates by multilocus sequence typing (MLST). A total number of 115 samples were collected and processed for the isolation of E. coli. The occurrence rate of E. coli was 92.2% (106/115), of which, 18 were typed as STEC. Antibacterial susceptibility analysis revealed 11 (61.1%) strains as multiple drug-resistant (MDR). MLST analysis has delineated 16 sequence types (STs) including nine novel STs. Among STs, ST58 dominated with three strains and was recovered from the environment and neonatal calves. Strains from neonatal calves and humans showed genetic relatedness with significant bootstrap support values indicative of zoonotic transmission potentiality. Analysis of 211 global isolates belonging to 61 STs indicated predominant STs (ST 21, ST 33 and ST 3416) that can be either host-specific (ST 33 and ST 3416) or can be shared among human and bovine hosts (ST 21). The MLST analysis indicates genetic relatedness among isolates and the results predispose inter-host transmission and zoonotic spread.