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Sci Rep. 2016 Jan 18;6:19638. doi: 10.1038/srep19638.

Chlamydia gallinacea, not C. psittaci, is the endemic chlamydial species in chicken (Gallus gallus).

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Jiangsu Co-innovation Center for Prevention and Control of Important Animal Infectious Diseases and Zoonoses, Yangzhou University College of Veterinary Medicine, Yangzhou, Jiangsu, China.
College of Animal Science, Anhui Science and Technology University, Anhui, China.
College of Veterinary Medicine, Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama, USA.
Poultry Institute, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Yangzhou, Jiangsu China.
Laboratory of Zoonosis, China Animal Health and Epidemiology Center, Qingdao, Shandong, China.


To investigate the prevalence and diversity of Chlamydia spp. in domestic birds in China, oral and cloacal swabs of healthy chickens, ducks, geese and pigeons were collected nationwide from live-animal markets and examined by Chlamydia spp. 23 S rRNA gene FRET-PCR followed by high-resolution melting curve analysis and confirmatory sequencing. Overall, 26.2% of the birds (602/2,300) were positive for Chlamydia spp. and five Chlamydia spp. were identified. While occasional detection of C. suis and C. muridarum in poultry is reported here for the first time, the predominant chlamydial agent was C. gallinacea representing 63.8% of all positives (384/602) and 81.2% of positive chickens (359/442). Analysis of the C. gallinacea ompA phylogeny revealed at least 13 well segregated variants (serovars). Seven-month monitoring of C. gallinacea-infected chickens indicated that the infection was persistent. C. gallinacea-infected chickens remained without overt clinical disease, but showed body weight gains significantly reduced by 6.5-11.4% beginning in week 3 post-infection. This study indicates that C. gallinacea is the endemic chlamydial species in chickens, whereas C. psittaci dominates only in pigeons. Further studies are required to address the specific conditions under which C. gallinacea could act as an avian pathogen and possibly also a zoonotic agent.

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