§ MR. Salmond
To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what was the incidence of(a) E. coli 728W 0157 and (b)campylobacter in animals in England in each year sine 1990 and from 1 January to date.
§ Mrs. Browning
[holding answer 2 December 1996]Escherichia coli 0157 is not associated with disease in livestock and there is therefore no definitive information on the number of cases each year. However since 1990 staff at veterinary investigation centres of the Veterinary Laboratories Agency have taken samples from various livestock species during on-farm investigations following the identification of disease in humans that has been associated with individual farms. Some samples, mainly from cattle, have proved positive for E. coli 0157, but insufficient samples have been examined to give meaningful figures for the prevalence of E. coli 0157 infection in these herds. A survey of bovine faeces samples routinely submitted to VICs in England and Wales in 1995 found E. coli 0157 in 0.86 per cent. of 6,495 samples.
Campylobacter jejuni and Campylobacter coli, the campylobacters most commonly associated with human food poisoning, are commonly found inhabitants of the gastrointestinal tract of a wide variety of animals and birds and are rarely associated with disease in animals. Because they are not significant animal pathogens, they are rarely looked for during animal disease investigations. The prevalence of the organisms within flocks and herds is very variable with, on occasions, all animals in individual flocks or herds carrying the organism.