Cattle are a reservoir for Escherichia coli O157 and they shed the pathogen in their feces. Fecal contaminants on the hides can be transferred onto carcasses during processing at slaughter plants, thereby serving as a source of foodborne infection in humans. The detection of E. coli O157 in cattle feces is based on culture, immunological, and molecular methods We evaluated the diagnostic sensitivity and specificity of one culture- and two PCR-based tests for the detection of E. coli O157 in cattle feces, and its true prevalence using a Bayesian implementation of latent class models. A total of 576 fecal samples were collected from the floor of pens of finishing feedlot cattle in the central United States during summer 2013. Samples were enriched and subjected to detection of E. coli O157 by culture (immunomagnetic separation, plating on a selective medium, latex agglutination, and indole testing), conventional PCR (cPCR), and multiplex quantitative PCR (mqPCR). The statistical models assumed conditional dependence of the PCR tests and high specificity for culture (mode=99%; 5th percentile=97%). Prior estimates of test parameters were elicited from three experts. Estimated posterior sensitivity (posterior median and 95% highest posterior density intervals) of culture, cPCR, and mqPCR was 49.1% (44.8–53.4%), 59.7% (55.3–63.9%), and 97.3% (95.1–99.0%), respectively. Estimated posterior specificity of culture, cPCR, and mqPCR were 98.7% (96.8–99.8%), 94.1% (87.4–99.1%), and 94.8% (84.1–99.9%), respectively. True prevalence was estimated at 91.3% (88.1–94.2%). There was evidence of a weak conditional dependence between cPCR and mqPCR amongst test positive samples, but no evidence of conditional dependence amongst test negative samples. Sensitivity analyses showed that overall our posterior inference was rather robust to the choice of priors, except for inference on specificity of mqPCR, which was estimated with considerable uncertainty. Our study evaluates performance of three diagnostic tests for detection of E. coli O157 in feces of feedlot cattle which is important for quantifying true fecal prevalence and adjusting for test error in risk modeling.
Preventive Veterinary Medicine – Elsevier
Published: Dec 1, 2017
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