Background: Pathogenic microorganisms commonly isolated from milk and milk products pose a serious threat to human health. Escherichia coli and Staphylococci are the major pathogens isolated from milk. The objective of this study was to isolate and identify pathogenic Staphylococci and E.coli from raw bovine milk collected from milk cooperative centers found in Hawassa City, southern Ethiopia.
Result: The overall prevalence of pathogenic species of Staphylococci and E. coli was found to be35.16 % and 8.59 % (n=384), respectively. From the total 384 raw milk samples examined, 1.56 %was found to be positive for both pathogenic species of Staphylococci and E. coli. The prevalence of pathogenic species of Staphylococci was found to be 33.33 %, 36.05 % and 39.21 % milk collected from Arsi Negele, Hawassa, and Shashemene, respectively. Whereas the prevalence of E. coli was found to be 9.68 %, 8.84 % and 3.92 %) milk collected from Arsi Negele, Hawassa and Shashemene, respectively. The study results showed a relatively higher prevalence of pathogenic species of staphylococci in raw milk collected from Shashemene than raw milk collected from Arsi Negele andHawassa. However, the difference was statistically insignificant (p > 0.05).
Conclusion: Higher isolation rate of E. coli and pathogenic species of Staphylococci in raw milk samples collected from different milk cooperative centers in Hawassa could be associated to mastitis, poor udder preparation, poor milker’s hygiene, poor milk handling practices, poor environmental sanitation and sanitation of milking equipment. Overall, this study showed that pathogenic species of staphylococcus and E. coli are prevalent in raw milk produced and consumed in the area. Therefore, awareness should be created to producers and raw milk collecting cooperatives on strict preventive measures of raw milk contamination.