Roxanne G. Burrus

Roxanne is an active-duty Naval officer, on assignment at UF while working on a PhD in Medical Entomology, with an emphasis in microbiology. Dr. Phillip E. Kaufman and Dr. Jerome A. Hogsette (USDA-ARS-CMAVE, Gainesville, FL) serve as co-chairs on her committee. She is currently examining infectious levels and identifying strains of Escherichia coli O157:H7 at dairy farms and adjacent urban areas in North-Central Florida. She is investigating the role that houseflies play in potential transmission between the urban-rural interface of the farms and the towns. Her interdisciplinary research involves consistent field work, collecting flies and cow manure, followed up by extensive laboratory analysis using standard microbiological and molecular typing techniques.

Domestic animals are the primary reservoir for Escherichia coli O157:H7, which causes bloody diarrhea (hemorrhagic colitis, HC), non-bloody diarrhea, and hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) in humans, and is an emerging infectious disease of concern, due to increased numbers of outbreaks and increased virulence of E. coli O157:H7. Escherichia coli can survive in animal manure for more than one year, and has been implicated in the 2006 spinach outbreak with transmission to food crops via application of manure slurry to crop fields or by runoff of animal-rearing waste into water supplies. Thus, it is desirable to determine the presence and concentration levels of E. coli in animal manure to prevent a serious threat to human food consumption.

Urban sprawl and simultaneous expansion of animal facilities has led to increasingly closer proximity between large animal-rearing facilities with abundant filth fly populations, and large human populations. Close proximity increases the opportunity for bacterial transmission between sites that can present an increased public health threat when the animal and human populations are within the filth fly’s normal flight distance (up to 13 km), particularly in North-Central Florida, where fly populations can be present year-round.

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