In the first part of the present study the coliform and enteric bacilli in the environment of calves with colibacillosis were examined. The occurrence, number, and pathogenic properties of Escherichia coli in barnyard soils were obtained from six cattle ranches. The O and K serogroups of E. coli isolates obtained from the feces of calves with colibacillosis born at these cattle ranches were determined, and their serotypes were compared with the E. coli O and K serotypes found in soils. The results showed a reservoir of potentially pathogenic E. coli in barnyard soils contaminated with bovine feces. For the second part of this study, 6 healthy calves and 51 calves with colibacillosis were studied. The numbers of total aerobic heterotrophic bacteria, total streptococci, fecal streptococci, total coliforms, and fecal coliforms in the feces of calves were determined. In addition, coliform and enteric bacilli from the feces of both healthy and diseased calves were identified, and their indole, methyl red, Voges-Proskauer, citrate (IMViC) types were described. In parallel, the IMViC types of coliform and enteric bacilli isolated from barnyard soils previously contaminated with bovine feces were compared with those isolated from uncontaminated soils. All fecal specimens were also examined for the presence of rotavirus. No significant effect on the numbers of the bacterial types was found. The results suggest that the predominant IMViC types found in the feces of calves with colibacillosis originate from the soil. From this study it is apparent that the occurrence, number, and survival of E. coli in barnyard soils is related to ranch husbandry and sanitary practices
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