Wild animals and livestock (pastured livestock, as well as those in concentrated animal feeding operations) can carry harmful E. coli and shed it in their excrement. And deer have been identified as the source of previous illness clusters. In 1995, the outbreak strain of E. coli associated with venison jerky was found in deer feces. Deer droppings were also the likely source of the E. coli O157:H7 found in unpasteurized Odwalla apple juice in 1996.
- Suppression of Escherichia coli O157:H7 by Dung Beetles (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae) Using the Lowbush Blueberry Agroecosystem as a Model System, Matthew S. Jones, Shravani Tadepalli, David F. Bridges, Vivian C. H. Wu, Frank Drummond, PLOS, April 7, 2015
Deer feces (scat) have been determined as a point source for Escherichia coli O157:H7 contamination of fresh produce. The ecological role of the scooped scarab, a generalist dung beetle species common in Maine blueberry fields, was explored as a biological control agent and alternatively as a pathogen vector between deer scat and food.
- Garden Q&A: Handle deer droppings with care, TriLive, March 28, 2015
The biggest potential problem you face in having so many deer droppings in your garden is the potential for the transmission of E. coli and chronic wasting disease (CWD), a deer and elk disease similar to mad cow disease.
- Escherichia coli Survival in, and Release from, White-Tailed Deer Feces, Applied and Environmental Microbiology, Feb 2015
White-tailed deer are an important reservoir for pathogens that can contribute a large portion of microbial pollution in fragmented agricultural and forest landscapes. Kinetics of E. coli release from deer pellets were measured at two rainfall intensities and used to derive the parameters of Bradford-Schijven model of bacterial release. The results showed that parameters of the survival and release models obtained for E. coli in this study substantially differed from those obtained by using feces of domestic animals and manures. This emphasizes the necessity of comprehensive studies of survival of naturally occurring populations of microorganisms in and release from wildlife animal feces in order to achieve better predictions of microbial fate and transport in fragmented agricultural and forest landscapes.
- 29 High Schoolers Infected with Rare E. Coli Strain from Deer, Food Safety News, Jan 12, 2012
- Deer droppings proven cause E.Coli outbreak, NBCNews.com, Aug 19, 2011
Researchers at the Oregon Public Health Division found that six samples of deer feces matched the E. coli found in people who were infected. The outbreak killed one elderly woman and sickened 14 others from northwestern Oregon.
- Deer Confirmed as Source of Strawberry Outbreak , Food Safety News, Aug 18, 2011
- Non-O157 Shiga Toxin–producing Escherichia coli Associated with Venison, CDC, Emerging Infectious Diseases, Feb 2012