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Avian Pathol. 2013 Dec;42(6):552-6. doi: 10.1080/03079457.2013.850151. Epub 2013 Oct 28.

Experimental reproduction of an Enterococcus cecorum infection in Pekin ducks.

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a Clinic for Poultry , University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover , Hannover , Germany.


Enterococcus cecorum (EC) was thus far only known as a pathogen for broilers and broiler breeders. Recently there was evidence of EC field outbreaks in Pekin duck flocks in Germany. In this study we experimentally reproduced an EC infection in Pekin ducks. At 12 days post hatch, groups of Pekin ducks were infected orally, via the thoracic air sac or intravenously with 1.5 × 10(9) colony-forming units (CFU) of EC per bird or via the air sac with 8.5 × 10(5) or 8.5 × 10(7) CFU per bird. Ducks of the intravenously infected group showed 100% mortality after 2 days post infection. The air sac inoculated high-dose group exhibited a mortality rate of 67%. Birds that were infected with 8.5 × 10(5) and 8.5 × 10(7) CFU showed 6.7% mortality after 7 days post infection. Dead birds displayed pneumonia, airsacculitis, pericarditis and splenitis and EC was re-isolated from these organs. Surviving birds of all groups apart from the orally infected ducks demonstrated clinical signs such as huddling, reduced mobility and diarrhoea. Furthermore, they showed gross pathological lesions including airsacculitis and splenitis and lower bodyweights than the control group at necropsy on days 7, 14 and 21 post infection. The present study clearly confirms that EC is pathogenic for Pekin ducks after experimental infection via the intravenous route or the respiratory tract. EC therefore has to be considered as an emerging avian pathogen not only in broilers but also in Pekin ducks.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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