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The Role of European Starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) in the Epidemiology of Zoonotic Pathogens and Antimicrobial Resistant E. coli in Ohio Dairy Farms

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Title: The Role of European Starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) in the Epidemiology of Zoonotic Pathogens and Antimicrobial Resistant E. coli in Ohio Dairy Farms
Author: Asmelash Medhanie, Genet
Department: Department of Population Medicine
Program: Population Medicine
Advisor: Pearl, David
Abstract: This thesis investigated the role of European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) in the dissemination of Escherichia coli O157:H7, Salmonella spp. and antimicrobial resistant E. coli in Ohio dairy cattle farms. Using a repeated cross-sectional study of 150 Ohio dairy farms, the following were investigated: 1) associations between farm management and environmental factors, and on-farms starling density (number of starlings per milking cow); 2) associations between farm management and environmental factors, including on-farm starling density, and the presence of fecal pats with cefotaxime and ciprofloxacin resistant E. coli; 3) the role of starling night roosts in the dissemination of cefotaxime and ciprofloxacin resistant E. coli to dairy farms; and 4) using longitudinal data from a subset of study farms, the temporal pattern of contamination of cattle feed by European starling excreta and the temporal pattern in recovering E. coli O157:H7 and Salmonella spp. from these bird droppings. On-farm starling density was associated with year of bird count, and feed and manure management on dairy farms. However, proximity to night roosts, rather than day time starling numbers was associated with the risk of pats testing positive for antimicrobial resistant E. coli. In addition, statistically significant spatial clusters of cefotaxime and ciprofloxacin resistant E. coli were identified on farms around night roost sites, further implicating night roost sites as centers for the dissemination of antimicrobial resistant bacteria to dairy farms. The recovery of E. coli O157:H7 or Salmonella spp. from bird droppings was related to the amount of contamination of cattle feed by starling excreta after controlling for season. Starlings may play an important role in the epidemiology of zoonotic pathogens and antimicrobial resistant organisms on dairy farms. The findings from this thesis are important for developing risk assesment tools and planning farm biosecurity policies and procedures against the introduction of these organisms to livestock facilities.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10214/9999
Date: 2016-09
Rights: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada
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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada Except where otherwise noted, this item's license is described as Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada