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Vet Microbiol. 2005 Jun 15;108(1-2):75-87. Epub 2005 Mar 17.

Virulence-associated traits in avian Escherichia coli: comparison between isolates from colibacillosis-affected and clinically healthy layer flocks.

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Department of Bacteriology and Immunology, Veterinary and Agrochemical Research Centre, Groeselenberg 99, Brussel 1180, Belgium.


Colibacillosis appears to be of increasing importance in layer flocks. The aim of this study was to determine characteristics of avian pathogenic Escherichia coli associated with the occurrence of colibacillosis outbreaks at flock level. Forty E. coli strains originating from layers from healthy flocks ('control isolates'), consisting of 25 caecal and 15 extra-intestinal isolates, were compared with 40 strains isolated from layers originating from colibacillosis-affected flocks ('outbreak isolates'), consisting of 20 caecal and 20 extra-intestinal isolates. The examined characteristics were adhesins, invasivity in T84 cell culture, serum resistance, iron uptake, colicin production, and toxinogenicity. The following traits were significantly more often detected in the outbreak isolates than in the control isolates: tsh, iss, iucA, iutA, irp2, fyuA, iroC, cvaC, colicin and colicin V production. A comparison of the extra-intestinal outbreak isolates and the caecal control isolates yielded the same results as when the caecal isolates, extra-intestinal isolates and total number of isolates of the outbreak and the control group were compared. When comparing the caecal and extra-intestinal isolates within the control and within the outbreak group, no significant differences were detected. The O78 and O2 groups showed significant differences with other O-types and NT strains for prevalence of most of the same characteristics. The combination of type 1 fimbriae, tsh, serum resistance, iss, traT, iucA, fyuA, iroC and colicin or colicin V production was significantly more often present in extra-intestinal outbreak isolates than in extra-intestinal control isolates. Only the combination of serum resistance, fyuA and colicin production was present in all outbreak isolates, with a significantly lower prevalence in the control isolates. None of the characteristics or combinations examined were exclusive to the outbreak isolates.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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