Fecal samples were collected from pens of cattle in a total of 100 feedlots in 13 states. Fecal samples were cultured for Escherichia coli O157. E. coli O157 isolates were probed for the genetic coding for verotoxin production. At the time of sample collection, data were collected on the type of cattle present in the pen, as well as the length of time these cattle were in the feedlot, ingredients for the current ration, and cattle health history since arriving in the feedlot. Factors associated with increased likelihood of a pen being positive (one or more samples probe-positive for E. coli O157) included feeding of barley (odds ratio [OR] = 2.75) and cattle being on feed less than 20 days (OR = 3.39). Factors associated with a reduced likelihood of a pen being positive included feeding soy meal (OR = 0.50), a cattle entry weight of at least 700 lb (ca. 317.5 kg) (OR = 0.54), and at least 85% of the cattle in the pen being beef-type heifers (OR = .33).
†Present address: USDA:APHIS:VS, Foreign Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory, Greenport, NY 11944, USA.