[en] AIMS: Bovine meat is the principal source of human contamination of attaching and effacing Escherichia coli, including enterohaemorrhagic E. coli O157. The aim was to study the prevalence of these strains on bovine carcasses in Algeria. METHODS AND RESULTS: Two-hundred and thirty carcasses were swabbed and analysed by classical microbiological methods for total E. coli counts and for the presence of pathogenic E. coli. The E. coli counts were high, with a 75th percentile of 444.75 CFUs cm(-2). For pathogenic E. coli, more than 7% of the tested carcasses were positive for E. coli O157. Eighteen E. coli O157 strains were isolated and typed by multiplex PCR. The main isolated pathotype (78%) was eae+ stx2+ ehxA+. In addition to E. coli O157, other attaching and effacing E. coli (AEEC) were also detected from carcasses by colony hybridization after pre-enrichment and plating on sorbitol MacConkey agar using eae, stx1 and stx2 probes. Thirty carcasses (13%) on the 230 analysed harboured at least one colony positive for one of the tested probes. These positive carcasses were different from those positive for E. coli O157. Sixty-six colonies (2.9%) positive by colony hybridization were isolated. The majority (60.6%) of the positive strains harboured an enteropathogenic E. coli-like pathotype (eae+ stx-). Only three enterohaemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC)-like (eae+ stx1+) colonies were isolated from the same carcass. These strains did not belong to classical EHEC serotypes. CONCLUSIONS: In this study, the global hygiene of the slaughterhouse was low, as indicated by the high level of E. coli count. The prevalence of both E. coli O157 and other AEEC was also high, representing a real hazard for consumers. SIGNIFICANCE AND IMPACT OF THE STUDY: This is the first study of this type in Algeria, which indicates that the general hygiene of the slaughterhouse must be improved.