Scottish cattle have been found to shed higher levels of E coli 0157 –phage type (PT) 21/28, which is known to cause severe human infection according to a Food Standards Scotland and the Food Standards Agency report. The paper published this week states that the dangerous strain of E coli is associated with super-shedding cattle who pass bacteria on in faeces. This has contributed to E coli 0157 infections being three times higher in Scotland than England and Wales.
England and Wales were shown to have a wider diversity of types of E coli 0157 whilst Scotland has higher levels of certain more danger types. Results showed that approximately 20% of farms and 10% of animals were positive for E coli O157 based on faecal pat sampling.