Presence of Escherichia coli O157 and O157:H7 in raw milk and Van herby cheese

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The Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) strains are currently considered important emerging pathogens threatening public health. Among Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli, E. coli O157:H7 strains have emerged as important human pathogens. This study was conducted to determine the presence of Escherichia coli O157 and O157:H7 in raw milk samples and Van herby cheese samples. For this purpose, 100 samples of raw milk were collected and 100 samples of herby cheese sold for consumption in Van province in Turkey were obtained from grocers and markets in order to detect the presence of Escherichia coli O157 and O157:H7. The method of E. coli O157 and O157:H7 isolation proposed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was used. E. coli O157 in raw milk and herby cheese samples was found in 11% and 6% of samples respectively, and E. coli O157:H7 was found in 2% of herby cheese samples. No E. coli O157:H7 was detected in raw milk samples. This study showed that raw milk was contaminated with E. coli O157 and herby cheese was contaminated with both E. coli O157 and E. coli O157:H7; therefore, herby cheese poses a serious risk to public health.

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