Shiga toxigenic Escherichia coli incidence is related to small area variation in cattle density in a region in Ireland

Brehony, Carina
Cullinan, John
Cormican, Martin
Morris, D.
Brehony, C., Cullinan, J., Cormican, M., & Morris, D. (2018). Shiga toxigenic Escherichia coli incidence is related to small area variation in cattle density in a region in Ireland. Science of The Total Environment, 637-638, 865-870. doi:
Shiga toxigenic Escherichia coli (STEC) are pathogenic E. coli that cause infectious diarrhoea. In some cases infection may be complicated by renal failure and death. The incidence of human infection with STEC in Ireland is the highest in Europe. The objective of the study was to examine the spatial incidence of human STEC infection in a region of Ireland with significantly higher rates of STEC incidence than the national average and to identify possible risk factors of STEC incidence at area level. Anonymised laboratory records (n = 379) from 2009 to 2015 were obtained from laboratories serving three counties in the West of Ireland. Data included location and sample date. Population and electoral division (ED) data were obtained from the Irish 2011 Census of Population. STEC incidence was calculated for each ED (n = 498) and used to map hotspots/coldspots using the Getis-Ord Gi* spatial statistic and significant spatial clustering using the Anselin's Local Moran's I statistic. Multivariable regression analysis was used to consider the importance of a number of potential predictors of STEC incidence. Incidence rates for the seven-year period ranged from 0 to 10.9 cases per 1000. A number of areas with significant local clustering of STEC incidence as well as variation in the spatial distribution of the two main serogroups associated with disease in the region i.e. O26 and O157 were identified. Cattle density was found to be a statistically significant predictor of STEC in the region. GIS analysis of routine data indicates that cattle density is associated STEC infection in this high incidence region. This finding points to the importance of agricultural practices for human health and the importance of a “one-health” approach to public policy in relation to agriculture, health and environment.
Publisher DOI
Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Ireland