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Vaccinating cattle against E.coli O157 could cut human cases by 85%

Vaccinating cattle against the E. coli O157 bacterium could cut the number of human cases of the disease by 85%, according to scientists.

The bacteria, which cause severe gastrointestinal illness and even death in humans, are spread by consuming contaminated food and water, or by contact with livestock faeces in the environment. Cattle are the main reservoir for the bacterium.

The vaccines that are available for cattle are rarely used, but the latest study suggests the public health benefits could be significant.

The research was lead by a team of researchers at the University of Glasgow in collaboration with the University of Edinburgh, the Royal Veterinary College, Scotland’s Rural College, Health Protection Scotland, and the Scottish E. coli O157/VTEC Reference Laboratory.

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