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K-State researchers help Epitopix license the United States' first E. coli O157 vaccine for cattle
Date:3/13/2009

Studies by veterinary researchers at Kansas State University, with collaboration from Epitopix LLC, have resulted in the United States' first vaccine against E. coli O157 in beef cattle.

"Researchers have done so much to focus on the post-harvest food safety aspect, whether it's E. coli or salmonella," said Dan Thomson of K-State's College of Veterinary Medicine. Thomson is the Jones Professor of Production Medicine and Epidemiology in the department of clinical sciences.

"Controlling foodborne pathogen outbreaks, and specifically E. coli O157, has been a major research initiative of many government and private agencies for the last two decades," he said. "We're really excited about the potential of this vaccine to aid pre-harvest food safety in beef cattle."

Thomson led both challenge studies and field studies to help the vaccine garner approval from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. It was developed by researchers Daryll Emery, Darren Straub and Doug Burkhardt of Epitopix LLC in Willmar, Minn. Thomson collaborated with T.G. Nagaraja, university distinguished professor of diagnostic medicine and pathobiology at K-State, and Guy Loneragan of West Texas A&M University.

"We're excited that this vaccine has been granted a conditional approval by the U.S. Department of Agriculture," Thomson said. "We have been a research collaborator for Epitopix to conduct the work that lead to this conditional approval. Epitopix will now be able to offer this pre-harvest food safety tool to beef producers."

The researchers conducted a challenge study at K-State and studies of commercial feed yards in Nebraska and Great Bend in 2007 and 2008.

"With this vaccine, we observed decreases in cattle shedding E. coli O157," Thomson said. "In our last field study we observed an 86 percent reduction in the number of animals shedding E. coli. Of the vaccinated cattle that were
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Contact: Dan Thomson
dthomson@vet.k-state.edu
785-532-4890
Kansas State University
Source:Eurekalert

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