Published Date: 2003-01-14 23:50:00
Subject: PRO> E. coli O157, acquired immunity?
Archive Number: 20030114.0109
E. COLI O157, ACQUIRED IMMUNITY?
A ProMED-mail post
ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases
Date: Sun, 12 Jan 2003 04:57:50 -0600
From: Gordon Couger <email@example.com>
I am a retired cattleman and I have been following the _Escherichia coli_
O157 problem since it first surfaced. I can't find a single reference to a
case of serious illness of the disease in people that handle cattle every
day. And I don't see them taking any precautions that they didn't take 20
When working cattle, it is not uncommon to be covered from head to toe in
manure, and no one washed up to smoke a cigarette, and many were rather
careless about washing up for meals. I have seen men pregnancy-test cows
without gloves, and bare-handed assistance in pulling calves is routine as
is some surgery under field conditions. I have sewed up several cattle with
fishing line and sacking needles. You did the best you could with what you
had. You washed down with hoses and changed clothes before you got in the
pickup if the grass was real lush. The manure problem was so bad we cut our
hair as short as it could be cut, so we could wash the smell out at night,
when we were running a feed lot.
If anyone should be catching _E. coli_ O157, it should be the workers
handling stock, because we don't get a little on our hand; we get a face
full and breath it in as aerosols. Unless we develop an immunity to the
bacteria some way, we should be falling like flies. Our numbers may be too
small to show up in the reports, but with the number of people I know that
raise cattle, if they did get the disease, I should have heard of it.
I started late in life, being exposed to livestock when I was 4 years old.
Most of my family starts as soon as they go outdoors. The first air they
breath carries dust and odors from the cattle. This may be a blind alley or
road already traveled, but if it has a chance of being of any value, I hope
[Mr Couger raises an interesting question based on his personal experiences
in the cattle industry. One might well think that, even with small numbers,
the cattle raising community and their families ought to be at substantial
risk, especially given the observations of cases associated with visits to
petting zoos. It is not clear, I believe, that they have been shown to be
Recurrent cases of _E.coli_ O157:H7 infection with hemolytic uremic
syndrome (HUS) have been reported (1,2). A recent review of recurrent HUS
(3) suggested that recurrences were commoner in cases unrelated to _E.coli_
O157:H7 [about 10 per cent of HUS cases].
Antibodies directed against the pathogen have been found to occur after
infection. Li et al reported that antibodies to a variety of factors were
still present at 60 days (4) but Ludwig et al reported that O157
lipopolysaccharide-specific antibody was present acutely but waning
substantially by 10 weeks (5). It is not clear, however, whether a
re-exposure anamnestic response would be protective.
Experimental vaccines have been explored in this context and have shown
mixed results. An O157 O-specific-_Pseudomonas aeruginosa_ exoprotein
conjugate was immunogenic for at least 6 months in adults (6); _Salmonella
laudau_, a strain that appears to naturally express O157 was immunogenic in
mice and seemed to produce some transient intestinal resistance to _E.
coli_ O157:H7 (7); a horse albumin-_E. coli_ O157 conjugate given orally
with mucosal adjuvant in mice was ineffective (8); and some protection was
found in suckling piglets whose mothers were immunized during pregnancy
with O157 intimin protein (9).
1. Siegler RL, Griffin PM, Barrett TJ, Strockbine NA. Recurrent
hemolytic-uremic syndrome secondary to _Escherichia coli_ O157:H7
infection. Pediatrics 1993; 91: 666-8.
2. Robson WLM, Leung AKC, Miller-Hughes DJ. Recurrent hemorrhagic colitis
caused by _Escherichia coli_ O157:H7. Pediatr Infect Dis J 1993; 12: 699-701.
3. Siegler RL, Pavia AT, Sherbotie JR. Recurrent hemolytic uremic syndrome.
Clin Pediatr 2002; 41: 705-9.
4. Li Y, Frey E, Mackensie AMR, Finlay BB. Human response to _Escherichia
coli_ O157:H7 infection: antibodies to secreted virulence factors. Infect
Imuun 2000; 68: 5090-5.
5. Ludwig K, Bitzan M, Bobrowski C, Muller-Wiefel DE. _Escherichia
coli_O157 fails to induce a long-lasting lipopolysaccharide specific,
measurable humoral immunity in children wit haemolytic-uremic syndrome. J
Infect Dis 2002; 186: 566-9.
6. Konadu EY, Parke JC, Tran HAT, et al. Investigational vaccine for
_Escherichia coli_ O157:phase 1 study of O157 O-specfic
polysaccharide-_Pseudomonas aeruginosa_ recombinant exoprotein A conjugates
in adults. J Infect Dis 1998; 177: 383-7.
7. Conlan JW, Kuo Lee R, Webb A, Perry MB. _Salmonella landau_ as a live
vaccine against _Escherichia coli_ O157:H7 investigated in a mouse model of
intestinal colonization. Can J Microbiol 1999; 45: 723-31.
8. Conlan JW, Kuo Lee R, Webb A, et al. Oral immunization of mice with a
glycoconjugate vaccine containing the O157 antigen of _Escherichia coli_
O157:H7 admixed with cholera toxin fails to elicit protection against
subsequent colonization by the pathogen. Can J Microbiol 2000; 46: 283-90.
9. Dean-Nystrom EA, Gansheroff LJ, Mills M, et al. Vaccination of pregnant
dams with Intimin-O157 protects suckling piglets from _Escherichia coli_
O157:H7 infection. Infect Immun 2002; 70: 2414-8.