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Avian Pathol. 2007 Feb;36(1):35-42.

Virulence characterization of Avibacterium paragallinarum isolates from Uganda.

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Department of Veterinary Microbiology and Parasitology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Makerere University. P.O. Box 7062, Kampala, Uganda.


Avibacterium paragallinarum isolates from Uganda were characterized for their virulence by comparison of their pathogenicity and their resistance to serum. Pathogenicity was evaluated using commercial Hisex Brown layer chickens, local indigenous chickens, local turkeys and local guineafowls inoculated with 108 colony-forming units of Av. paragallinarum and comparing their overall mean disease scores over a period of 20 days. Persistence of the bacteria in the host and water was also investigated for a 60-day period by culture and polymerase chain reaction as well as use of sentinel chickens. Serum resistance was measured by comparison of the growth kinetics and survival indices at 3 and 6 h. There was no difference in the virulence of the isolates. Commercial layer chickens and local indigenous chickens were equally susceptible to challenge, while turkeys and guineafowls only showed transient mild signs and did not transmit infection. Turkeys and guineafowls did not acquire the infection when placed in contact with infected chickens. The isolates were resistant in normal chicken serum at both 3 and 6 h of incubation but were resistant at 3 h and sensitive at 6 h in turkey and guineafowl sera. The resistance of the isolates to serum correlated with their pathogenicity in the different hosts. No carrier status was demonstrated in this study using polymerase chain reaction and culture. The present study demonstrates that Ugandan Av. paragallinarum isolates are pathogenic to chickens with only transient signs in turkeys and guineafowls, and that serum resistance could be a subject for further investigation as a predictor of virulence of these bacteria. The role of turkeys and guineafowls in transmission of Av. paragallinarum was not demonstrated in the present investigation.

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