J Vet Sci.  2008 Dec;9(4):375-379. 10.4142/jvs.2008.9.4.375.

Low numbers of intestinal Shiga toxin-producing E. coli correlate with a poor prognosis in sheep infected with bovine leukemia virus

  • 1Department of Microbiology, Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, University of Idaho, Moscow, ID 83844-3052, USA. cbohach@uidaho.edu
  • 2Department of Veterinary Microbiology and Pathology, Washington Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory, College of Veterinary Medicine, Washington State University, Pullman WA, 99164, USA.
  • 3Field Disease Investigation Unit, Washington State University, Pullman WA, 99164-6610, USA.


Healthy ruminants carry intestinal Shiga toxin (Stx)-producing Escherichia coli (STEC). Stx has antiviral activities in vitro and STEC numbers correlate with reduced early viremia in sheep experimentally infected with bovine leukemia virus (BLV). This study assessed the impact of intestinal STEC on BLV-induced disease for one year post-BLV-challenge. High STEC scores (CFU/g feces x frequency of STEC-positive samples) correlated with good health, whereas poor weight gain, distress, and tumor development occurred only among animals with low STEC scores. STEC carriage was associated with increased percentages of B cells in peripheral blood.


bovine leukemia virus; sheep; Shiga toxin-producing; Escherichia coli
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